Music instruction can also play an important role in a child’s behavior. Some parents ask, “Is my child’s behavior good enough for lessons?” However, a more important question might be, “How will my child’s behavior be improved BY lessons?” Let’s explore that.
Studies of young children (including pre-schoolers) experiencing early instruction in instrumental education indicate a remarkable increase in their ability to socialize, self-express, release energy and pay attention. It has also been shown to affect mood, tension, and mental clarity.
Attention & Focus
Learning to play a musical instrument helps children develop focused attention. The experience hones their ability to pay attention by focusing on the parts of the music they are learning, and then to re-create it using physical gestures both large and small.
Music brings forward emotions in all human beings and this includes even small children. Both a simple rhythm or melody can evoke a range of emotions, different from person to person. When preschool children learn an instrument and are asked to recreate music, the associated emotions are able to be released. Young children often have difficulty expressing and releasing what they feel inside (a difficulty some carry with them well into adulthood!). A musical instrument provides an outlet for this to occur.
Our instrument education programs involve elements of group instruction, allowing for interaction between the young musicians. Playing beautiful music in ensemble teaches children to collaborate with others and also to develop leadership skills. Children self-identify as young musicians. (For more information, see The Integrated Way)
Music Kids teachers help to instill respect in a variety of ways. These include respect for the teacher, the audience, the instrument, the composer, and most importantly, for oneself.
Children often use their imagination to make up their own songs or make changes to an existing one to fit their liking. These natural tendencies are ways of expressing oneself. Playing a musical instrument provides a healthy opportunity for self-expression. Sharing a musical talent with others cultivates a generous spirit. (For more see Creative Expression)
Exposure to beautiful music helps children develop social and emotional skills in a safe and healthy environment. These emotional skills often translate into self-confidence, cooperation with others, self-regulation and good listening skills. All of these attributes are associated with well-behaved, successful children.
Mood & Attitude
Studies have investigated the impact of different types of music on tension, mood, and mental clarity. One such study took a total of 144 subjects who completed a psychological profile before and after listening for 15 minutes of music. With grunge rock music, significant increases were found in hostility, sadness, tension, and fatigue, and significant reductions were observed in caring, relaxation, mental clarity, and vigor (sorry, Kurt Cobain). In contrast, after listening to the designer music (music designed to have specific effects on the listener), significant increases in caring, relaxation, mental clarity, and vigor were measured, along with significant decreases in hostility, fatigue, sadness, and tension. The results suggest that music may be useful in the treatment of tension, mental distraction, and negative moods.
Can Music Instruction Affect Children’s Cognitive Development
Sounds of Learning: The Impact of Music Education
The Extra-Musical Effects of Music Lessons on Preschoolers
The Effects of Different Types of Music on Mood, Tension, and Mental Clarity