10 Reasons Why Children Should Learn an Instrument
Learning an instrument takes dedication, discipline and patience, but the rewards associated with it are vast! Here are 10 reasons why every child should be given the opportunity to learn an instrument:
1. Increase memory skills
Learning an instrument teaches the student how to create, store and retrieve memories more efficiently. To look at the other benefits learning an instrument can have on the brain, watch this fantastic short video by TED-Ed.
2. Improves time management and organisational skills
Learning an instrument requires the student to use their time wisely. The results of good quality practice far outweighs that of large quantities of practice. Having regular lessons with a teacher teaches children how to organise their time to ensure they are able to complete a high standard of practice during the week.
3. Teaches perseverance and creates a sense of achievement
Learning any instrument takes lots of time, practice and patience. A child's instrumental teacher will instruct them on how to set short term and long term goals. Achieving those goals are rewarding and thus encourages perseverance.
4. Improves coordination
Playing an instrument requires the brain to work at high speeds. Reading the music is converted through the brain into the actual motion of playing the instrument. This results in improved hand eye coordination.
5. Improves math skills
Although music may seem to be purely creative, the foundations of it is actually a colossal maths problem. Developing an understanding of how music is created puts mathematics into a different perspective for children. The are required to constantly use mathematic problem solving skills whilst playing or learning a new piece of music.
6. Improve reading and comprehension skills
Learning and playing music requires constant reading and comprehension. Students need to identify a note on the page and recognise which note (pitch) to play on their instrument, how long to hold it, what finger to use, and how loud to play it! They also need to identify if the note should be played short and crisp, or smooth and connected to the next note. On top of this, they need to look at the piece as a whole. Are they required to change speed? Where is the melody? Music is a multifaceted wonderland that always requires the student to be one step ahead!
7. Create a level of responsibility
Most instruments require some kind of maintenance or upkeep. This can range from oiling to cleaning. Encouraging the student to stay on top of regular maintenance creates a level of responsibility for them. In addition to this, they need to remember to schedule time to practice their instrument and remember when they need to attend lessons or events.
8. Exposes the student to culture and history
Music is most often a reflection of the culture/era it was composed in. Exposing a child to multiple types of music (e.g. classical, contemporary, rock, jazz, blues, folk, medieval etc.) will allow them to have a glimpse into the past. As a teacher, I always educate my students on when the piece was written and the circumstances surrounding the composition. I will then encourage them to create a story to tell while they play. This sometimes requires the student to go and research the era/culture being portrayed in the piece.
9. Nurtures self-expressions
Owning/renting an instrument allows a student to play whatever they want, when they want! As they become more skilled, the sky is the limit in terms of what they can play. I will always encourage my students to learn music outside of the syllabus I set for them. This encourages self-expression and exploration.
10. Improves listening skills
Playing an instrument requires the student to listen carefully to an array of different things! Not only do they need to listen to instructions from their teacher, they need to listen for rhythm, pitch, speed and texture (just to name a few)!
In truth, all of these valuable skills don't only apply to children. They apply to adults too!