It seems that no matter what at some point in a child’s life they wander up to their parents and ask, “Mom, Dad, can I learn to play an instrument?” Whether or not it is the guitar, drums, piano, or flute a child could possibly have the thought of wanting to learn how to play an instrument. When Mom and Dad end up saying no to their child they should stop and realize that when a child knows how to play a musical instrument it can help them out in many more ways than they know (iDiva). Having a young kid learn an instrument can help develop better coordination, build better concentration, help with stress relief, and enhance a child’s intelligence, along with many other positives (o5). I personally play the guitar, and it has helped me out throughout the years.
Probably the largest positive that comes out of a kid learning how to play a musical instrument is that it enhances their brainpower. It improves their memory, helps the child out socially and can even give them some extra intellect (Caron). Why would a parent not want to put their kid through music lessons? If playing an instrument can improve the child’s brainpower, it is a no brainer to give the kid a musical instrument to try out (Caron). Parents should let their children at the very least try out the instrument. With enhancing the brain comes enhancing other skills. “Studies show that learning music can help improve reading comprehension, mathematics, and cognitive skills (o5).” Parents today seem like they are pushing harder and harder for their offspring to do better in school; if these parents give their children a musical instrument it can increase their IQ (iDiva). Not only does learning an instrument help improve brainpower it also has other benefits to it.
Being a typical American I am not accustomed to having any patience; however whenever I sit down and start to play the guitar I have all the time in the world. Once I start to learn a new song patience has to be sitting there right next to me, because no one can learn a whole song in only five minutes. Playing an instrument teaches kid’s to have patience (Caron). When people are in a band slamming away on the guitar, or pounding on the drums they have to be able to wait for the right time to play. “You need to work together in a group to make music (Caron).” One person in the band can’t be playing faster or slower than everyone else because then the music ends up sounding out right bad.
This is where patience comes into play. Having to be able to wait for the right time to strike a chord or beat the snare drum. Patience will not just be used only when someone is playing in a band, they can take the patience that they learned from all the practice of the instrument and put that towards everyday use. Having patience is a wonderful trait to have, but every now and then patience are going to run thin and one may become angry, and this is another area where knowing how to play an instrument can help.
I myself can say that whenever I am angry, sad, depressed, or flat out stressed my guitar has always been right there waiting for me to pick it up. It is a way for me to let my emotions out; it is a superb way to relax. “Engaging in a calming expressive ability proves more effective than merely sitting down to relax; music calms the nerves and stimulates the brain. It also increases the ability to absorb more information (iDiva).” I cannot tell people how jamming on my guitar has helped me get through those stupid middle school and high school problems.
Parents should want to get their kid’s into an instrument simply for this reason. Would a parent rather have their child dealing with their problems with drugs and alcohol, or by locking themselves in their room and getting lost in their instrument? Stress is something that everyone has; studies have shown that playing an instrument can lower heart rates and blood pressure (o5). Having a way for their children to get their frustrations out is why parents should let their kids play a musical instrument, but it also lets them be creative (Caron).
Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach are some of the most creative people in the history of the World, and what did they do? They played instruments. Playing a musical instrument for a child is a creative pursuit (Caron). Parents are always pushing their children to be more and more creative, well parents why not buy them an instrument and let their creativity be expressed? “Everybody is born creative, but many people don’t realize it because it’s not encouraged in their early years (iDiva).” Having your child play an instrument would let that creativity that is bundled up inside them, that they did not even know they had, and would let it sore out. Look at the creativity that the guitarist in the last thirty to forty years have. Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Angus Young are three of the greatest guitarist. Imagine if their parents would have never bought them a guitar.
Then some of the best music ever would have never been written. It is the ultimate feeling someone can receive when they are just playing along on an instrument and all of a sudden compose some sort of music. When I’m playing my guitar just doing really nonsense chord progressions, or playing random riffs, and I build a song on the guitar the feeling is unreal. Once that happens the only thought that goes through my head is, “Whoa, I just made music on my own.” I’ve been playing for about 8 years now and that feeling never goes away. Along with being creative a musical instrument is a way for a young child to express his or herself (Caron).
Today people express themselves in different ways. Whether it would be through protest, or occupying the stock market everybody expresses himself or herself in one way or another. Playing a musical instrument can be a way for a person to express their identity (Caron). Moms and Dads are always telling their children to be themselves, or don’t follow the crowd. Well how can they not follow the crowd if they do not have anyway to express themselves, or have a different identity? Giving a kid a musical instrument can help him express emotions and give that kid an identity (Caron).
For me in middle school me being the so called “guitar guy” was my identity. It did not stick with me through high school, but that was because I didn’t want to be that guy anymore. Having the guitar right by my side through middle school helped out a huge amount, “It gives pleasure and expresses nuances of emotional life for which there are no words (Caron).” Of coarse with anything positive people will try to come back and say that there is something bad about it. Well the positives far out way the negatives.
The biggest arguments against learning a musical instrument are not even the fact that you should not learn how to play the instrument, but that one should not take formal music lessons (Oldenburg). Another argument is that a child should not learn how to play more than one instrument (Turtenwald). Let’s see why that a child should not take formal music lessons.
One of the simplest arguments against formal music lessons is the cost (Oldenburg). I took formal music lessons when I was a kid to learn guitar, and yes the lessons may not have been the cheapest; however, having the one on one experience definitely helped hone out my guitar skills. Something else that is a negative to formal music lessons is the time. Driving back and forth to music lessons and having to sit and wait for your child is a downfall to lessons (Oldenburg). Parents, who is learning the instrument? It is the child who is getting the experience of learning an instrument. If the parent isn’t close enough to be able to go home and wait bring something to do: work, read a magazine, maybe even learn an instrument yourself. The last argument against formal music lessons is the loss of passion (Oldenburg).
This is certainly not true. Having lessons helps one build passion. Teaching oneself how to play an instrument can be very hard, if anything I would loose passion doing that. In formal lessons you get that one on one time and learn something new. When you teach yourself how to play you have to read out of a book, and there is no one around to help you out if you don’t get something. Learning the instrument on your own will mean that no one is around for you to ask questions to. Finally the other argument against playing a musical instrument is that a child should not learn how to play more than one instrument (Turtenwald).
There are two main arguments against learning how to play more than one instrument. The first is, like against formal music lessons, the time (Turtenwald). Learning how to play one instrument can be challenging enough, but taking on a second one at the same time will be tough (Turtenwald). This is completely understandable, but notice that she never says anything about not playing a musical instrument she only says do not play more than one. “Taking on the challenge of learning more than one instrument requires a greater time commitment (Turtenwald).” The second argument is lack of commitment. What this means is a child may not put forth the same effort towards both instruments. Again she is not saying do not play an instrument, but don’t play more than one.
Teaching a child how to play an instrument can help them in school, and throughout life. Parents it may be a good idea to buy your child the guitar or drum set they have been talking about, and get them started as soon as possible.
“5 Reasons to Encourage Kids to Learn a Musical Instrument.” 5 Recipes For Life. o5.
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Music Lessons. Better Parenting, Inc., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. Turtenwald, Kimberley. “Advantages & Disadvantages of Learning a Secondary
Instrument.” eHow. Demand Media, Inc., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. “Why Your Child Should Learn a Musical Instrument.” iDiva. Times Internet Limited.
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