Moving way beyond simply being an enjoyable pass time, music can have a huge number of benefits for a child’s education. Many teachers and educational institutions believe in this theory so much that they will actively encourage children with learning difficulties to take up a musical instrument. So what are the benefits and how can music help to enhance an educational path? Having been involved in music education for many years, we’ve laid out some of the benefits we see having a great impact on a child’s learning time after time.
Music can have such a varied effect on a child’s life and if you’ve got a child currently learning an instrument it would be great to hear your stories in the comments below.
Many children who struggle with academic learning do so because of a lack in confidence. Not believing in your abilities can seriously impact anyone’s ability to soak up new information – if you don’t believe you can learn then you’re starting on the back foot. We’ve found repeatedly that children suffering from confidence issues approaching learning an instrument in a different way to academic subjects. Unlike maths or science, learning the guitar is something kids can relate to right from the off which can really help with making progress quickly. The other factor is that learning an instrument is something that not everyone can do, and as such it often feels like owning a ‘special skill’. Children that may have traditional fallen into the bottom section of a class suddenly start achieving with a skill that sets them apart.
Learning an instrument takes time, patience and commitment. Unlike a games console, success can only be reached through hard work. Seeing a skill develop as a direct result of hard work is a valuable lesson to learn and helps with not only education but work, relationships and many other areas of life. It can sometimes be a tough and long lesson to learn, especially in the beginning stages. When a new student starts they often have dreams and visions of their guitar heroes; but reality can bite hard when they realise quite how much effort and time it takes to get that good!
There’s also something deeply satisfying with sweating over something and then finally getting it right. Learning an instrument offers a unique opportunity to do this; an opportunity that simply isn’t available with standard elements of mainstream education.
As discussed above, learning an instrument is not easy. When you first start it can feel a bit like repeatedly hitting a brick wall with constant challenges that are seemingly impossible to beat. And herein lies the next benefit – learning to solve problems and breakthrough challenges as and when they present themselves. Anyone who’s ever achieved anything will always tell you that it wasn’t easy, and that the road to success is a rocky one.
Starting to play an instrument can often be a child’s first experience of having to solve problems in a practical situation. As a teacher you can show someone how to play and provide advice on how to get over problems, but the only way a student will ever succeed is by figuring out how to break through struggles in their own way.
As a young player starts to advance, the music and techniques they learn will naturally start to get more technical. At some point in their development a student will have to start gaining an understanding of at least the basic principles of music theory. Music theory is basically a practical application of simple maths. Most career paths will require an application of maths. Most jobs certainly won’t include doing mathematical exercises as learnt in school; the real skill is learning to apply maths in a practical situation. Music theory is a great introduction to this skill – it’s maths but not maths!
If you think learning music is for you and could help with your child’s education then start finding out about your options and investigating the best way to get started. You’ll be amazed by the wide spread benefits that it can have on your child’s development.