It is evident that today’s society is on the decline. It seems to me that many people are quick to judge, slow to volunteer and very wrapped up in their own lives.
Due to the various political and economic issues that we currently face as a nation many parents are struggling to get by. Parents are stressed to the max and that fact impacts how our children function. Parents are simply not able to give as much time as they would like to their children because many of them need to work five jobs to put food on the table. Children react to their parents’ emotions and have become stressed out, unmotivated, tired and depressed.
As parents become less available their children look toward others for guidance and someone to model themselves after. This is especially true as children reach the pre-teen stage. They look for groups to belong to and ways to express themselves. However (if you haven’t noticed) there is a slim selection of decent humans to model themselves after. What would the impact be on your child’s future if they model themselves after a less- than- worthy media figure or simply fall into the wrong crowd? Children are becoming emotionally unavailable and learning that they can have everything they want through instant gratification. Hard work is becoming a lost concept. Some parents seem to be teaching these ideas, but there are some parents that teach their children otherwise. While school teachers are trying to instill great principles in our children, I fear that children just don’t have the same respect for teachers as they once did. The teaching profession used to be viewed as a well respected and noble cause. The respect for this noble field has become greatly diminished.
Some parents have decided that its best to put their children in situations that allow for good role models. There are so many children involved in sports such as field hockey, dance, soccer...etc. Children are also involved with youth groups and drama clubs. The list goes on and is endless. While I think the majority of children are spread too thin (another blog entirely), I think we are on the right track. While I don’t think that there should be an absence of good parenting, I think that it’s a great idea to allow children to learn from other adults in their community. This becomes especially important for our preteens and teenagers. No teen will model themselves after their own parents, not at that stage in life, that is. But they still need some sort of guidance from a respectable adult.
Another area that children find themselves is music. That is what this blog is specifically about. This blog in particular shows how simply learning music can help your child grow. The hope is to be a person with a good heart and someone that can contribute to society. It is true that students learn the fundamentals of music, theory, history, notes, rhythms, etc., from lessons. More importantly, students are learning essential life skills. These life skills help one to function as an adult and to contribute to society in a positive way. I truly believe that if we instill these skills and concepts into our children from a young age, we will see a more positive effect on society as a whole. Imagine that we reach back to a time when young people understand that through hard work they can achieve something valuable. To see children being welcoming and accepting of new members to their peer groups. Students offering to volunteer and to learn that helping someone for nothing is a wonderful thing. To do their part, their duty in society. To vote, to care about their community. I feel that as a result of current situations, children feel isolated and they feel that they are without community. They don’t know what its like to be part of a large group that sincerely cares for them and has the same interests.
The following list is the life skills that one can acquire from Suzuki music lessons I Choose Suzuki because that is where my training lies. I’m not saying that other methods can’t produce the following results but I can personally attest to the outcomes of this method. Suzuki students gain: concentration, community membership, presence, punctuality, responsibility, respect, discipline, perseverance, love for music, setting goals, good work ethic, self esteem, ability to face challenges, problem solving, commitment, how to ask questions, public speaking, time management, fine motor skills, self teaching, Integrity, consistency, ownership, application of skills to other subjects, following directions, communication skills, listening skills, compassion, learning how to make friends, cooperation, leadership, organization, coordination, seeing the good in others, fortitude, independence, an adventurous spirit, humor, humility, memory, intelligence, realizing ones potential, sense of perfecting each step , group skills, sharing, noncompetitive group work, sensitivity, patience, creativity, tolerance and pride in doing things well.
Who wouldn’t want their child to have all of those skills? Can you imagine what would happen when a child with all of these skills enters society as an adult? I certainly think that if we had more adults with those traits, this world would be a much different place. Imagine an adult in this society that is punctual, responsible, respectful and that can solve problems peacefully and rationally. A person that is committed to their work, organized, listens, and is patient. One that can learn for themselves and doesn’t need another to constantly hold their hand. A decent adult that is tolerant and accepting. How many adults or young adults do you know that have the majority of these traits? What impact could this have on our society and community?
How does it work? How can music teach your child life skills? Let’s look at public speaking. Music students are often required to perform for recitals. Students learn how to stand up in front of a crowd and after a few performances they begin to feel more comfortable. Students are encouraged to tell the audience what they are playing and who composed it. As students get older they are encouraged to give information on the history of the piece or state facts about the composer.
Regarding presence. When students reach a certain level, they being to give input regarding how musical statements should be made in a piece. They must be able to explain why this is a valid idea. Thus, students learn that they have a voice and their opinions matter. They are able to state their own thoughts with reason and substance.
Responsibility is a very big and important skill. Students acquire this by learning to care for the instrument, by bringing all books and materials to lessons. In my studio, students that forget instruments at school or home don’t have a lesson because I want them to learn responsibility. As an adult, a boss might not appreciate one leaving important work papers at home or forgetting meetings. By participating in recitals and group lessons students learn to commit to something and follow through with it. They choose a piece, commit to learning it and play it at the recital. They show up to the recital and do exactly as they said they would.
As a music teacher, I feel that it is my duty to pass these skills to my students first, the music comes second and is a tool to accomplish these skills. I find that a sense of community is valuable and crucial to my studio. I believe that every child is not only capable of learning to play an instrument, but they are capable of becoming very fine adults with very good hearts. I can see all the potential in these children. Can you?
If you are looking for an activity for your child, to teach them wonderful things and how to be wonderful themselves, Music is certainly a great place to start!
Lots of Love,