Do you have a loved one or child who wants to learn music? Or perhaps you’d like to treat yourself this holiday season to some lessons and learn to play some seasonal classics? Here are seven reasons to give yourself or someone you love the gift of music this year.
- When you give lessons you are giving someone another tool for self-expression. Playing an instrument can be a great way to process emotions and engage in creative self-discovery. Perhaps you’ve had a rough day. Hammering the piano keys or belting your favorite diva anthem can provide much needed catharsis. Alternatively, improvisation and songwriting offer alternatives to journaling or meditation. Playing music can be an escape, a therapy, a means to better understanding ourselves, others and the world around us.
- Learning an instrument may improve self esteem. Through lessons, students gain a sense of mastery over reading music and the mechanics involved in playing an instrument. As they continue through their musical development they start to hear themselves playing more complex melodies, and perhaps even performing the songs their own music idols may have written. Having goals for musical development and reaching those goals can be a highly rewarding experience. Performance opportunities are also great for developing confidence.
- Transfer effects. Transfer effects are defined as those skills that develop as a result of learning an instrument and may have other outside application. You may have heard that reading music improves reading skills or math skills for kids. It’s a little more complicated than that but learning a musical instrument has been strongly correlated with improvements in reading ability, focus, and spatial reasoning skills, among other things. One reason is is that these skills are heavily used when learning a musical instrument. For example, music is read left to right, has a strongly defined pattern and structure and “punctuation” in the form of bar lines and phrases. These characteristics are similar to our syntactical structure.
- Musicians have a shared experience that creates social opportunities and improved social skills for children. Learning to collaborate and play in a group of musicians (something we do often at DoRayMi) can be a bonding experience for young musicians, particularly teens. Playing a song with others also emulates the pattern of dialogue and turn taking in speech, which develops communication in children, particularly those with communication disorders such as ASD.
- Playing a musical instrument improves self regulation skills. Having to pause at rests, keep a steady beat and practice dynamic sensitivity to soft and loud helps children to practice self-regulation behaviors
- New experiences and opportunities! Your budding musician may now have the skills needed to land that role in community theater or the confidence to kill it at karaoke night. Lessons are a great way to broaden their horizons and give them access to a new side of themselves and of the world.
- Music lessons are gifts that last well beyond the Christmas season. Giving the gift of an experience is something your loved one can enjoy the whole year long and that they will never lose, break or use up. Music lessons are a lasting gift.
Consider giving them a gift that is so much more than one thing. To them it may be a method of relaxation, confidence booster, inspiration giver or an open door.
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