Growing up today is a lot different than it was forty, thirty, or even twenty years ago. Technology is making our lives easier and our world smaller, but kids today face challenges that simply weren’t so prevalent in years past. Consequently, many parents consider new techniques, methods, and tools as a means of providing for their children’s needs. Things that will allow their child’s innate abilities to blossom and help develop strong character traits, designed to achieve lifelong success and fulfillment.
Believe it or not, learning to play a musical instrument, like the violin, can assist those parental goals. Music instruction offers a variety of benefits for children and specifically aids three notable areas of child development: their Social, Physical and Mental well-being.
Building Social Skills
Although it may seem like a foreign concept, learning to play a musical instrument like the violin is a wonderful way to help your child develop excellent social skills. Indeed, almost every precept involved in music instruction is related to uniform group cooperation, but with an individualistic ideal.
For an orchestra or band to function, every player must perform his or her individual part. And, this same philosophy applies to sports teams. If one part is missing, or one player isn’t in “tune,” then the whole group suffers. However, when each person is performing his or her unique part, the outcome is a melodious blend of individual effort.
Learning to play the violin is no different. Players must learn how to keep in time, play their part correctly, and work together as a unit. This helps your child develop beneficial social skills, because knowing how to work harmoniously within a group, but also being able to retain your own sense of individuality, is essential knowledge for workplace success.
Building Physical Capabilities
When learning to play any new instrument, students are initially instructed on how to properly hold and play the instrument. With the violin, an emphasis is placed on maintaining correct posture and playing position. And holding the violin correctly (although it will feel odd at first) is extremely important.
However, all those hours of sitting correctly with arms poised will help develop your child’s upper body and core strength. In addition, just learning to play the violin helps increase concentration, develop body coordination, and improve joint flexibility in the hands. Music instruction involves keeping your eyes on your music, not what your hands are doing.
Mental Benefits—Building Brain Functions
In recent years, many scientific studies have been conducted concerning the impact of music education and therapy on cognitive processes. Using visual images of the electrical impulses in the brain, scientists and doctors have discovered some pretty startling facts.
One particular series of studies, “Effects of Music Instruction on Developing Cognitive Systems” at the Foundations of Mathematics and Science, conducted by Elizabeth Spelke, Ph.D. Harvard University, found that prolonged music instruction was beneficial for the spatial recognition, saying, “In our experiments, the relationship between musical training and geometric representation is specific…”
Moreover, spurred by the overwhelming evidence of the benefits associated with learning to play a musical instrument, Music and the Brain, a non-profit organization, has been developed to help improve, introduce, and enhance music instruction in public schools.
Learning to play a musical instrument like the violin can help your child’s development in a variety of ways, but most importantly, it can give your child a wonderful dose of self-confidence. Since knowing how to play the violin is a rather specific skill, your child will build self-esteem by understanding that he or she has accomplished a difficult, yet highly fulfilling task. And, you can feel great about encouraging your child’s musical ability, knowing that the skills developed now will last a lifetime.