[image via google]
I recently came across this article, which explores the effect of music on the brain. Specifically, learning an instrument before the age of 7. We all know there are a lot of "math & science" vs. "english & arts" oriented people. I definitely fall into the english & arts category, seeing as I have struggled with math and science my whole life, and began playing music in third grade. I really think there is something to be said for the positivity that music has for children as well as adults. When states or counties talk about cutting their arts and music programs in schools, it breaks my heart. Having grown up in band from elementary to high school, competing and learning and developing my skills, I can't imagine other kids not being able to have that chance.
Let me get on my soapbox for a minute. If you live in a district where the legislation is thinking about cutting the arts programs in a school, please take a minute to sign a petition, make a phone call, or attend a meeting. Even if you don't have kids. That may be a lot to ask... but that's how important I feel this is. I'll give you a few reasons (from a personal standpoint) why keeping music alive in our schools is crucial:
1. The obvious: skills. Having music skills later in life is, in my humble opinion, the best thing. It's all about expression and passion and writing and sharing something the world communally appreciates. Also, it has been proven to be positive for child development in many different ways, especially for kids who have disabilities or struggle with learning.
2. Socialization. Call us band geeks, but we stick together! :) I had some great friends through my various band programs in my schools. And we weren't considered the nerds of the school by any means... it was a fun group. The best part is that you have music in common right off the bat, so it's easy to make friends. Plus, there's something special about sharing in competitions and practicing together... I believe it gives kids a sense of purpose and camaraderie.
3. Confidence. Kids so deseperately need this when they are growing up. Even high schoolers need it! Music is such a good way to build people up. Starting them early (if they stick with it) means that they will be able to do something really well by the time they are adults. Maybe it could lead to a career... but even if it's just for fun, they will know they are good at it and can share it with someone. They can even teach it!
In case you couldn't tell, I am a big supporter of keeping music in our school communities, whether through an actual school or outside programs. Being 27 years old now, I really appreciate that my parents started me in music so young. The truth is, I don't know one person who doesn't like some type of music. So parents: I encourage you to at least explore the idea of putting your kids in a music program of some kind, and seeing if they have interest in it. It's okay if they don't, of course. But I believe it's worth trying and seeing what they get out of it, even if it only lasts a year.
And to end this post, here is one of my favorite pieces I used to play in high school: