Written by John Linn
Guitar, Ukulele and Songwriting Teacher, Middle C Music School
The New Year is a time when we reflect on the previous year and set intentions for the next.
In the New Year, what if we could help our children increase their confidence, sharpen their mindfulness and develop their resilience, all while learning a new skill, having fun and discovering the joys of creativity?
As a guitar and songwriting teacher at Middle C Music in Washington, DC for eight years, I have seen with my own eyes how powerful music is in cultivating these elusive skills in children ( and in adults too!). Music comforts us, allows us to express ourselves freely, and teaches us the pride of persevering in solving problems and overcoming challenges. Keep in mind that these perks – and all the joys of music and learning – are also available for adults! It is never too early or too late to improve your quality of life through music education.
As we move into the New Year, I urge parents to learn more about the benefits of music education and consider what your child could earn this year as a result:
Mindfulness and music can be reciprocated. Listening to music and finding the right tone helps children identify specific sounds – instead of being distracted by background noise, help a child practice mindfulness and attention. A study of parents whose children were enrolled in music lessons found that 85% of parents felt their children had a greater ability to continue working until the end of a task after one year of lessons. music, even when they considered the task difficult.
Improved confidence and social skills
We all want our children to be confident in themselves, and studies repeatedly show that music education can help a child build their self-confidence and their own unique identity. Music is a naturally collaborative activity, and an effective teacher can help develop a student’s own musical interests and preferences. When a student is actively involved in directing their own learning, the result is confidence and motivation.
Working with a supportive teacher, being in a small ensemble, orchestra, or rock band can help a child develop social skills. While not mandatory, performing in front of peers and in recitals provides a great opportunity to practice public speaking, presentation and communication skills. Many schools, including ours, offer opportunities for small and large group performances, allowing students to build their confidence to perform on stage or in front of larger crowds.
Time and time again in my songwriting camps for teenagers, I have seen students enter a playful and creative space, allowing them to be more present and to connect with themselves and with others in an environment. supported. Creating and performing music is a process filled with experimentation and “mistakes”. Good instruction and support helps students cope with inner critical voices and reformulate mistakes into opportunities.
Studying music can be difficult, but maintaining a nurturing and safe space for a student to make mistakes is helpful in many ways. When it comes time for a student to take that step on stage, we have hopefully provided skills to overcome fear of what he might consider failure. Sometimes this fear of failure can be resolved with just one small success in a lesson; sometimes it can take weeks, months or years.
Learning a new skill requires persistence, discipline and motivation to be successful. Participating in an activity that intrigues them, such as learning a new instrument, is a powerful way to help children develop intrinsic motivation and discipline over time. This is a great practice for challenges your children will encounter later in life. As teachers, we ask our students to be responsible for their development. With care and guidance, we ask students to complete homework and tasks that will advance their skills. Sometimes the tasks are joyful. Sometimes they need the discipline and extra attention that makes them feel like they’re at work, but learning to turn the feeling of work into fun, excitement, validation, and joy is part of learning.
If you have children in your life who may need a deeper connection to mindfulness, who might benefit from improved self-esteem, or who still need to find their social niche, music programs are there for you. lots of opportunities to hone these and other important skills while having fun. I urge parents to take that first step, ask questions, and find the right teacher or school for your child. It will be a gift for life.