21 March 2012

Music a must

My son asked me the other day why I require that he take music lessons through the end of 8th grade. My off-the-cuff answer was: "It's a long list, are you sure you want to hear it?" He answered by immediately getting back to work on one of his violin pieces.

I decided to write up my reasons, regardless of his lack of interest in them. So here are 10 of my reasons why my son must take music lessons (and why I require that he practice as close to every day as we can manage). In no particular order:

1. It is much easier to learn an instrument when one is young-- the brain is flexible and is in learning mode.

2. If one learns something as a youngster it is much easier to come back to it later in life.

3. Music training has been linked to enhanced ability in other skills such as verbal communication and mathematics.

4. Learning an instrument gives one greater appreciation for all types of music and the skill that it takes to play at the professional level.

5. Music is good for the soul. (Really this is number one & underlies all of my other reasons).

6. Knowing how to play an instrument & read music is a form of emergency preparedness. If all the power goes out, at least someone in the family will be able to provide music.

7. Music is incredibly diverse. Learning how to play an instrument & read music gives one access to all kinds of music.

8. Learning how to play an instrument requires practice and learning how to practice is a skill that will be useful in many areas of life.

9. Learning how to play an instrument takes time & patience, see above.

10. Doing something that one is not naturally good at is good for the brain and allows one to learn the important lesson that, as someone said: "Hard work beats talent if talent doesn't work." Just because one is not naturally good at something does not mean that one should give up on it. Very few people are 'naturally good' at anything.

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