Last week a French Horn came home with school with my 8 year old. This joins our existing ensemble which already includes a tenor saxophone, keyboard and electric drum kit. I’m going to have to buy my neighbours noise cancelling headphones for Christmas.
Despite my grumbles about the racket, I am actually quite pleased my children embrace music and enjoy learning it.
I always wanted to play an instrument but with no natural aptitude and a lack of dedication I dropped out of piano lessons pretty quickly and that was the end of my music career.
I really hope my kids take it further because there are so many benefits to learning an instrument which extend into many facets of life and development.
The benefits of learning and playing a musical instrument include:
- Improved memory skills
- Improved hand eye coordination & fine motor skills
- Improved listening skills
- Improved math skills
- Improved reading and comprehension skills
- Improved auditory skills
- Encouraging responsibility, perseverance and discipline
- Encouraging self-expression
- Building self confidence
- Building physical strength and improve stamina
- Providing a constructive outlet for stress
In fact, studies have shown that playing a musical instrument utilises both sides of the brain and helps development new, stronger neural pathways. There is a strong correlation between learning a musical instrument and improved executive functioning.
While I encourage my children to learn an instrument for the cognitive benefits, I’m sure that’s not what motivates them. They like playing music because it’s fun, they can see their progress and I’m quite sure my saxophone player in particularly thinks he’s pretty cool.
Getting them to regularly practice at home can be challenging at times, however they enjoy going to weekly band rehearsals and playing music with their friends. In fact, learning an instrument at school has broadened their social circle immensely. And of course, the boys love to have a jam together on their respective instruments at home. Even the 3 year old joins in on her tambourine.
Maybe I’ll get a pair of those noise cancelling headphones for myself while I’m at it.