In life, mindfulness, motivation, resiliency and dedication are all learned, not inherent. One way to foster all these skills and more is through music lessons. What if we could help kids grow their confidence, hone their mindfulness skills and build up their resourcefulness while learning a new, creative skill and having fun?
As a music teacher and a lifelong student of music, I have experienced how amazing learning music is for cultivating these skills. Throughout my career, I’ve seen how skills learned through playing an instrument help students with every part of their education (even increased SAT scores by more than 100 points!).Playing a musical instrument is one of the only skills that activates every area of the brain at once, so it helps students develop a deep intelligence while also activating their creative muscles.
As you’re considering after-school activities for your kids this school year, take a moment to learn about the benefits of music education and other creative outlets.
It might sound a little cheesy, but music is a universal language. A trained ear can help us connect with this language and approach our lives with attentiveness and mindfulness. Playing an instrument or singing involves fine motor skills, which combine the logical precision of the left brain with the creative intuition of the right brain. Neuroscientists are finding that musicians have higher levels of executive functions, including our ability to strategize and our attention to detail.
Improved social skills
As a voice teacher, I see firsthand how music education can help build and improve social skills for kids of all ages. I have had many students come in and be incredibly shy and reserved only to let their inner lion roar singing along to Katy Perry or let their inner diva out with a Christina Aguilera stage presence or reveal their sensitive side playing guitar to Olivia Rodrigo. Studies demonstrate that music education helps children build confidence and develop their own unique identity.
Learning music can be a great environment for students to explore, while also having a solid support system. Performing in a recital can help build confidence and develop critical social skills like public speaking, presenting and manifesting goals. It’s so important to build safe spaces for students to learn how to perform, so that when the time comes to step on stage, they are prepared for potential stage fright. Learning how to confront and deal with nerves now is an invaluable skill, which will be important no matter what they decide to do.
Whether you execute your sonata flawlessly or miss a couple of notes, whatever happens on stage stays on stage. You must be able to take risks in order to build up self-esteem. Music, particularly performing music, is a way to build up kids’ self-esteem, while keeping the stakes low. Although you might feel like your life is over, in the grand scheme of things, an imperfect performance is just one day in a fabulous life. The next time they’ll be that much stronger and prepared. Learning any new skill requires patience, motivation and dedication, which is fostered in music lessons.
As you consider activities for your family, consider arts education. Music is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give to yourself and to your children. It is a gift they will carry with them wherever life takes them.
Nic Brannen is a vocal instructor at Green Brooms Music Academy and has been teaching in L.A. since 2021. Nic has been trained as a jazz pianist at Cornish College of the Arts and is currently working towards his masters degree in composition at the California Institute of the Arts.