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Why Music Matters

There's method in that music

If you're tired of listening to Eliza play "Three Blind Mice" on her recorder for the hundredth time, think about this: amazing links are being uncovered between music education and other areas of learning.

Research done at the University of California-Irvine indicates that young children taking music lessons have a greater ability to grasp concepts that are also essential to math and science. Coordination and concentration are also improved when, for instance, children take piano lessons and learn to play a different line of music with each hand. Mastering a song or technique allows children to feel a sense of accomplishment and a desire to move on to the next challenge. These feelings of pride can also improve their confidence in the classroom.

The lazy days of summer are a great time to introduce and expose your child to all sorts of music.

Music tips for parents
  1. Introduce infants to music by singing them lullabies and nursery rhymes.

  2. Help younger children relate to music by asking about the sounds they hear. Does that drum sound happy or sad? Would an elephant sound like that high flute, or that deep bassoon?

  3. Continue to encourage a love for music by listening to songs your children learn from TV shows, musical tapes, and songs they make up.

  4. Look into a wide variety of musical toys and CDs of songs that are available for children.

  5. Take your family to performances at local schools, universities, and community events. 'Tis the season!

  6. If you and your child decide on music lessons, look for a teacher who has a good rapport with children.

  7. Talk to other parents whose children take lessons for suggestions, or consult with the music teacher at your child's school. (And if your community has cut out music instruction, you may want to bring the importance of music to the attention of the school board!) Keep your child's personality in mind, too. A gregarious child might enjoy singing with a choir or playing with a band more than the solitude of clarinet lessons.

  8. If you've always wanted to learn to play the piano yourself, take some lessons! Show your child that it takes time and practice to master a new skill. Just make sure not to turn this into a competition.

  9. Encourage your child by asking her to play for you.

  10. Compliment his efforts and progress, but keep in mind that few musicians become stars overnight.

  11. Try to provide a quiet place and a regular time for practice.

  12. Never use music practice as punishment!

Choosing an instrument for your child...and you

Consider what family members (even neighbors) are willing to put up with: snare drums may not be a big hit in your apartment building! Talk to music teachers or music store employees about which instruments may be easier to learn, given your child's age and experiences.

Group lessons may be a fun and less expensive alternative. Also consider the benefits of the choir at your child's school, church, or other house of worship.

While your child may never become a violin virtuoso, the time he spends practicing an instrument or singing in a choir will contribute to his aptitudes for problem solving, creativity, memory, coordination, and much more. And it's great fun!

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