Are music lessons helpful for all children?
“Where words fail, music speaks.” – Hans Christian Andersen
Many people think of music as mere entertainment, but I believe learning to make music is a metaphor for learning life skills.
Science has proven the benefits of music lessons to stimulate whole brain development in children more than other activities including sports, science or visual arts. Music lessons provide a structured path for personal development by imparting skills of listening, coordination, focus, pattern-recognition, goal-setting, public performance, and so much more. And this applies to all children, even those on the autism spectrum or attention deficit, dyslexia or other special needs.
Now if you have ever taken music lessons as a child, you may have experienced some difficulty understanding in the beginning. Traditional teaching methods force students to read abstract symbols before learning to play. This can be confusing, overwhelming, and lead to dropping out of lessons altogether. There are so many adults who tell me, “I really wish I had continued with my music lessons.”
Luckily, there is a new way of teaching that enables children, even those who are preliterate or have special needs, to begin playing with confidence and joy immediately.
This way is called the Musicolor Method and aligns with natural modes of learning – think of it as learning to speak before you read. It uses direct-labelling with color as educational scaffolding and simplified notation that grows in complexity as the student progresses. It culminates with reading standard music notation and playing with mastery. The end result is life skills through music with less stress, overwhelm and a lot more fun.
Music can be defined as organized sound and I believe we have a deep, cosmic connection through music and sound. For example, our hearing is the first sense activated in the womb. Also, astronauts discovered that being in space, far away from Earth led to a strange sickness. After close inspection, scientists discovered that Earth has a “sound” ((known as Schumann Resonance – 7.83 Hz) like a giant cosmic cello we synchronize and harmonize with. Adding back an artificial, generated tone normalized these astronauts in space – music is in our DNA!
But even here on firm ground, playing a musical instrument stimulates whole brain thinking, synchronizing left and right hemispheres. A recent study in England has shown that music lessons improve a student’s abilities in all academic subjects and can be quantified as equivalent to a leap forward of one year! While you may not intend for your child to be a concert pianist, having some music lessons in childhood will undoubtedly improve all of their studies.
Since 2007, we at Park Slope Music Lessons have worked with hundreds of students, some as young as 4 or 3 1/2 including many with ASD, ADHD, and/or special needs, learn life skills through music with joy. Come join us!