Why We Have Our Kids Learn an Instrument

by GfG on March 6, 2012 · 8 comments

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{insert  piano rendition of  “Parade of the Doodle Bugs” here… again… and again… and again… and again… and again… and again}

Back when we first thought through our educational philosophy, we decided that music lessons would be required for at least two years for each kiddo.  We weren’t going to seek making them Mozarts,  but piano lessons and practice were on the lesson plans just as math was.  We believed then and still do now that it was important for their brain.

What are the benefits in taking music lessons? 

When we studied anatomy last year with Apologia, I was able to share the reasons for piano lessons with my children.  Learning to play piano puts the brain to work in special ways.   A person has to use both hemisphere as well as several lobes of the brain to play music, not just listen to it.  Neural connections are made in complex ways.  Google it.

For Faith, this aspect of school is even more important.  Because she has learning struggles, we believe having her take piano lessons is helping her make strides she can not do at the school table.  It’s giving her tutoring in a way that is completely different, but just as effective, if not more so.   Research is finding that learning to play music has benefits across the academic spectrum.

Is forcing our children to do something if they don’t want to do it wrong?

I don’t think so.  If it’s good for them, no.  I make them eat their vegetables.  They have to learn math.  They must bathe (with soap, even).  It’s my responsibility to raise them and a part of that is deciding what’s best for them.

That doesn’t mean I make them take piano forever, just until the basics of the skill are accomplished, then the benefits are met and appreciation may take over.

What if they aren’t “talented”?

A couple of our kiddos are musically talented, a couple of them aren’t, and a couple of them still remain to be seen, but they will all take two years of piano.  If they are gifted and appreciate the lessons (and we can afford to keep them in), then they can continue.

What other benefits are there?

One of the reasons we started HB at the age we did was that we felt she needed to learn a few lessons.  First, she needed to know that all things don’t come at first try.  Academics came easy to her about 95% of the time, but when they didn’t… she was very upset.  She needed to understand that sometimes we have to work at a skill and that does not mean we are not smart.  Also, she needed to see that she could persevere in a difficult task.  We are not sports minded, so piano lessons were a way to grasp the concept of perseverance. Thirdly, an appreciation for music in general as well as musicians is developed by having to take lessons yourself.   Lastly, if this is a talent, then we could be encouraging a life-long pursuit or a career (and maybe even a Proverbs 31 style income for our daughters).

How do you afford lessons? 

I know it’s a sacrifice, financially.  Truly, I know.  God has always provided the money for lessons and even provided a piano, free for us!   Another time, we have been able to trade a flute given to us for lessons.  I have many stories of provision from parents who believe in the benefits of music.  I’m not saying God will bring you a free piano, ok?  Eeeek!  I don’t need that on me.       😉

But I am saying that if you believe it to be important, you’ll find a way to make it happen.  You might even be blessed in the journey.  It might not come as soon as you like, but it will happen.

As Cutie Pie joined the rank of piano students at the end of February, I couldn’t help but smile.  I watch her read the notes, move her fingers and struggle to have the different parts of her brain working together and know that her mind is really working.   It makes me happy to know the synapses are firing and neurons connecting.  I don’t know where she’ll fall in the “talented ” aspect, but I know she’s building her brain and that’s what matters to me.

I remind myself of these benefits when “Parade of the Doodlebugs” plays again and again.     😉

If music lessons are not a part of your kiddos’ lives, I challenge you to rethink that.

Leaning to play music is good for the brain.  Period.


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