When my kids were in grammar school, they considered playing an instrument. I asked their music teacher “What’s the easiest instrument to learn?” Her response was, ” The one you enjoy most. It’s not point in pressuring your child to play an instrument if they don’t like it.”
Renee Border, music instructor and business owner of Noteworthy Experiences wrote this wonderful article about the benefits of learning a musical intrument. Thanks Renee!
The Benefits of Learning How to Play a Musical Instrument
As a music educator, I am often asked why people should learn to play a musical instrument. Most people understand that music students do gain a stronger sense of music appreciation. They might not know the full extent of the benefits of learning to play musical instruments.
Music education enables personal expression and creativity. It also increases critical thinking, hones discipline, and promotes social/emotional development in students.
Several years ago, I was teaching two sisters who were similar in age and appearance. Naturally, they had extremely different personalities, learning styles and musical goals. The younger sibling studied the piano because she wanted to learn and explore music. However, the older sibling was taking piano lessons. Her parents thought it was a good idea for her to try something new and to become a well rounded.
These different motivations created vastly different musical experiences between the two sisters. The older student was competitive and the younger student was motivated by creating beautiful melodies. Within a few short months it was apparent that the younger student was going to surpass the older student’s skills. Of course the younger child was while the older child was devastated.
I began a dialogue with the parents. We started to talk with the students about what was going to occur. Throughout the process the mother thanked me for guiding two of her children through this life challenge.
She would say at the end of each lesson for several weeks, “Well girls, we came to Mrs. Bordner today for a piano lesson and to learn new songs. But we left with more skills you will need for later in life with sports, school, friendships and more.” As a teacher and mom, I truly loved working with this family. I helped them learn music and about sibling rivalry. In case you were wondering, the older student now studies with us on a different instrument. The younger sibling still studies the piano.
Prepare for other challenges in life
This is one of many examples of how taking music lessons can help prepare children for challenges later in life. In this example, both students began to understand that hard work and discipline as well as passion are key to cultivating a skill. Competition is not enough to fuel learning and achievement.
There are so many other aspects of learning included in a young musician’s experience. Performing at a recital, competition, or audition can teach students how to prepare in advance for a presentation.
I believe that teaching a student how to deal with sweaty palms, butterflies, or shaky knees before a performance can assist them in many other aspects of life. These skills needed to perform at a recital are the same skills needed for school presentations, job interviews, etc.
Working on a difficult piece can help students master the skill of breaking a project down into little projects. During this process a student works on perseverance and frustration tolerance.
Other life skills
Executive functioning skills, such as time management, flexibility, and self-control, are essential in setting up a practice routine. I find that many of our students discover their learning styles while analyzing what works best. Each skill needed in order to put an entire piece together.
There is a reward for a regular practice routine and time management skills is the applause from others. Executive functioning and organizational skills do take time for children to develop. We often find that students are working on these exact skills in preparing for their lessons, recitals, school concerts, competitions, etc.
Students can translate this reward into other areas of their academics and or sports by experiencing the benefits of discipline. We find that many students use their music as a form of expression and stress release. Most students do not realize that they are increasing their skill sets in these areas because they are studying music for fun. When this occurs organically, a teacher truly has helped a student.
Michael Matthews of Borrowed Notes has a wonderful and in-depth article breaking down all of the benefits of learning music: http://www.borrowednotes.org/18-benefits-of-playing-a-musical-instrument/ At the end of this article, there is a link for a Ted Talk on how playing an instrument benefits your brain that is an excellent resource.
Give the gift of music to someone you love, Note-worthy Experiences offers gift certificates for all lessons.
So what is the easiest instrument to learn? The one you enjoy!
Renee Bordner is a mother of two high schoolers. You can learn more about Renee here. http://www.note-worthyexperiences.com/studio-director.html