Children have been through a lot the past few months. Whether you think everything happening is an overreaction or an appropriate reaction, children’s lives have been turned upside down. Their entire life is online, graduation didn’t happen, summer camps are canceled, and birthdays were spent without friends.
When I started to realize this I realized that music can help. I’m excited to share with you three reasons why music can be just what children need right now.
1. Learning music provides constancy and routine.
As a classroom teacher, I have learned that children thrive off of routine. They love to know what is next. It provides security and anticipation. But, for the past several months there really hasn’t been routine. Plus, anticipation for summer activities was crushed when camps and events started getting canceled. All this combined with not seeing faces because of masks can be pretty jarring for children.
But, I realized music lessons provide much of what is missing right now. They provide constancy. When taking music lessons children can count on having a lesson and seeing their teacher every Tuesday at 4:00pm. They can look forward to always having thirty minutes of fun and exploration on the piano at 10:30am every morning. Learning music provides routine.
2. Music gives children and teenagers something to work towards.
Again, as a teacher, I have found that kids love having a goal. Students love nothing more than a fun project they can work towards for several class periods. I find this especially true for middle school and high school ages. It also gives kids something to do that is not related to social media. Social media is a great tool to stay connected during times like this but, studies like the one linked here, show that increased social media usage and a lack of routine are linked to increased depression rates and feelings of loneliness and inadequacy.
3. Music improves emotional health.
Road trip music makes people happy. The Force theme from Star Wars inspires people. Music helps people process emotions. This Ted Talk by Benjamin Zanders is a perfect example. This thesis from the University of Nebraska shows a definite and sizable correlation between music-making and improved mental health.
I am routinely shocked by the emotional depth fourteen-year-olds display when they play a piece of music or talk about what they are trying to communicate when they play a piece. Music provides a huge outlet for emotion and provides a platform to learn about healthily expressing emotion. And in times like these frustration, loneliness, depression, etc. are all common emotions that need to be shared and expressed. Music provides an excellent and healthy way to do just that.
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