As a group of musicians and musical educators, we are all aware that Arts Funding cuts are preventing many children and adults alike from being able to access music education. I have been teaching in schools as a visiting music teacher for the past 5 years, and even in such a short space of time have been alarmed at the changes that I have seen.
The Old Jelly Rollers are seven-strong, so between us we have probably spent around 100 years learning our instruments (that’s a long time!) and have experienced the joys that music education brings. I am often disheartened by the attitudes that some people have towards what we’ve spent this joined 100 years doing;
“So what, if there are fewer musicians in the world?”
“Kids go to school to learn real subjects, not to mess about with musical instruments!”
“What’s the point in learning an instrument if you don’t want to be a musician?”
So, I thought I’d share just a few of the benefits of music education with you (just in case having a great time and learning a marvelous new skill aren’t benefits enough!)
Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the biggest benefits of music education is that it vastly improves a learner’s confidence. The evidence of this comes long before you consider that getting up on stage, be it at a concert hall or at a school show, takes a lot of nerve; A big part of learning to sing or play an instrument is being asked to demonstrate what you have been practicing, or to have a go at an exercise in front of your teacher (and your peers, in group lessons). The safe learning environment that is created by enjoyment and moral support means that in no time at all, the ability to demonstrate, talk and perform is magnified onto a much grander scale, both in other areas of work and socially.
The Social Element
In our opinion, nothing is more rewarding or satisfying than that feeling that you get when you’ve put on an amazing gig with your best mates. And it’s not just about the show – The amount of time that you spend with a group of like minded, creative people when preparing for a gig, concert or tour creates the perfect environment for some really amazing friendships to develop. Amazing friendships = happy, healthy state of mind.
In this changing world of bigger classes, less playtime, more homework and greater pressure, it’s easy to forget to make some time for self-expression. The ability to express oneself is cultivated by encouraging a creative mind, and many musicians turn to their instruments for expression (or just to let of some steam) in times of high stress, emotional difficulty or great joy!
IQ and Academic Performance
Okay, so if you’re hung up on the idea that time spent learning music is time wasted as far as academic development is concerned, there are many studies that have shown that even just one year of one-to-one music lessons can significantly boost the IQ and grades of a child. This may have something to do with the “multitasking” that learners face (reading, understanding harmony, rhythm, melody and playing the instrument all at the same time!) playing a part in interconnecting brain areas, which in helps to develop an all rounded intelligence, able of critical thinking and problem solving at a much higher level than someone who has never had music tuition.
However fun it is, mastering any instrument is not easy. Music students very quickly realize the importance of practicing and hard work, as the results are literal and clearly apparent in their progress. They also come to understand that the reward for their hard work is the improvement that they’ve made and what they have learned from their efforts – a very valuable lesson indeed! This helps to develop a tenacity in all areas of work, and a strength that will be invaluable as they progress in later life.
So, go forth and learn!
Blog by Louise Balkwill
If you have any questions regarding this post or would like to apply to host a workshop in your school or educational facility, please feel free to get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Featured photo: The Old Jelly Rollers at The Becky Dell Music Academy Christmas Concert 2016