Why Kids Should Study Music

sax Tonight I went to my fourth-grader’s instrumental music orientation meeting. It was very professionally run and contained everything we needed to know to get started. And it was only as long as it needed to be, which was great. One thing I noticed, though, was that nobody talked about the reason kids should learn to play music.

Don’t get me wrong, they definitely talked about the ways music can help kids in other areas of their lives. Things like problem solving and practice habits and stress relief. I completely understand that in this day and age, when more and more school districts are cutting back on the arts, music and art teachers have to justify their existence and this is how they do it. Kudos to them, and I’m not at all suggesting they stop talking about practical reasons to study music.

But it would have been wonderful to also hear a few sentences like this:

“Your child should study music because nothing in the world is like it. It opens up the mind and heart to new ways of looking at the world, and to an ability to think and feel and experience more deeply. Music is a universal language in a way few others things can ever be. If you know how to play an instrument, you’ll be part of a global community of people who realize that beauty is as essential to life as breathing. Your child should learn to play an instrument precisely because it doesn’t immediately have a practical value. It’s a quixotic campaign against the idea that everything they do has to prepare them for life as a worker and consumer. Making music is a revolutionary act. Learning to play and appreciate music is part of what it means to be human.”

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5 Responses to Why Kids Should Study Music

  1. Hey man.Phil DiPietro here from the halcyon days of AAJ. This is so beautifully said…I had to tell you.I’m showing it to my daughter tomorrow morning.She’s loves her flute.

  2. Jason Crane says:

    Thanks so much, Phil!

  3. Jason, I’m sharing this everywhere I can think to share it. Thank you for putting into words that which I have struggled to say for so many years. This is brilliant. This is what I have tried to teach my students for over 30 years.

    Signed – She who believes this with all her heart.

  4. John J DePastino says:

    As a 70 year old musician, I can say that playing music is therapeutic as well as rewarding. It keeps a person young in multiple ways and healthy too. I enjoy opportunities to speak to groups of children where I can encourage them to continue with their music and remind them that someday, the athletes will stop playing their games but those who become proficient on instruments or as vocalists can continue on.

  5. Rpn says:

    Reason #1, when are are reading music (note,fingering, duration, dynamics, slurring, you cannot be thinking of anything else (like when sitting in class) you learn to focus etc. Also #2, it is one of and the best skills to get the right brain (creative) and left brain (organized) to work together.How many greats (Einstein,Schwitzer) were musicians also. Some believe it actually raise your IQ

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