The Importance of Music Education in Your Child's Life
“Music — what a powerful instrument, what a mighty weapon!” ~ Marie Augusta von Trapp
If you are familiar with The Sound of Music, the von Trapp family had a strong culture of music. Their family bond was strengthened by music, and ultimately music saved their lives.
When my daughter was just two years old I took her to a performance of the descendants on the von Trapp family. As we sat and listened to Edelweiss (my daughter snuggled on my lap) tears streamed down my face.
I had always known music would be an important part of my children's life; this concert strengthened my resolve to provide them with as much music as possible.
Of course we are advocates for music education/appreciation here at SQUILT Music, but it needs to be articulated WHY we advocate for this, and why all children deserve a quality music education.
From the minute a child is conceived we have the opportunity to sing to them and play beautiful music for them - such simple ways to give their brain development a boost!
As our children get older, music instruction appears to accelerate brain development, particularly in the areas of the brain responsible for processing sound, language development, speech perception and reading skills.
The auditory systems of children who have exposure to music develop faster than those who have no exposure to music. "The enhanced maturity reflects an increase in neuroplasticity – a physiological change in the brain in response to its environment – in this case, exposure to music and music instruction."
Music Teaches Discipline
Let's use the example of an 8 year old child starting piano lessons. A piano teacher will require daily practice of 15-30 minutes. From this young age, a child will learn that in order to succeed, they must practice, and that practice time will have to be put into their schedule.
Within that practice time, a child will have to discipline themselves to practice a certain way - scales first, then new pieces, then old pieces for fun.
With a parent's help, this 8 year old is learning discipline.
As this 8 year old grows, they enter middle grades, where perhaps they will decide to learn to play an instrument in the band They have learned from piano lessons that they will have to manage their time in order to practice the flute. If they want to compete for first chair in their local band, they will need to practice even more.
The discipline ingrained in our children from those piano lessons will carry with them throughout their school career - and into life.
I often speak about the Charlotte Mason principle of The Habit of Attention. When children engage in Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time , they are practicing that habit of attention.
With daily listening our children practice the habit of attention, that will translate over into so many areas of their lives.
Music Connects With Many Subjects
In our SQUILT LIVE! classes, we make connections between music and MANY other subject areas.
One piece of music can help us pull together many things of beauty - art, literature, history, and more.
We can sneak a lot of learning in the back door through just one good piece of music! For example:
- The Sound of Music can teach us about geography and history (not to mention morality)
- Chopin's Military Polonaise teaches us not only about Poland, but also about WWII history (the polonaise was played on the radio to rally troops)
- Prokofiev's Dance of the Knights from Romeo and Juliet can teach us so much about a classic piece of Shakespeare, not to mention the history of ballet and Russian culture
(All three of these examples are taken directly from our archived lessons available to SQUILT LIVE members.)
Music Speaks To Our Children's Souls
Life today can be hard on children. Our world is fast-paced and often scary. Music provides a respite from the pressures and realities of everyday life.
Children need avenues of expression (playing an instrument). They also need time and space for quiet listening and reflection (music appreciation).
Music is also a powerful tool for children with anxiety. It helps regulate emotions and provides a break from overstimulation.
Additionally, when children learn about a composer who had their own personal struggles (Beethoven is a wonderful example), they develop compassion. Whenever I teach children about a piece of music I always teach a bit about the composer's life and personality - this awareness is critical to understanding the music and fostering that compassion.
Families can also create beautiful shared memories with music. Whether it is the song a mother sings to their children at bedtime each night, or the annual trip to see the Nutcracker each December, these are rituals our children cling to as they grow.
Now that both of my parents have passed away, I can still hear my dad singing "I love you, a bushel and a peck", and I have fond memories of my mother singing hymns in church.
Music has had a PROFOUND impact on my life, and it's important to note that neither of my parents were "musicians". They simply exposed me to great music, faithfully took me to piano lessons, and endlessly shined shoes and bleached white gloves when I was in the marching band.
I've watched my two children benefit from piano lessons, choirs, guitar, ukulele, and TONS of music appreciation.
When parents ask me how to fit music education into their children's days, I wonder how you could NOT fit it in.
Music is the EASIEST gift in the world to give our children. (If you need help, just check out any of our offerings here at SQUILT Music!)