The Top 4 Reasons Your Kids Should Learn To Play An Instrument
Yamaha's back to school promotion has got us thinking about all the great things that come with learning an instrument. Many of us here at Dolphin first started playing as kids because we wanted to emulate our rock heroes, but if you're a parent there are plenty of other reasons why you might want your child to get involved in music.
1. It's a fun hobby that's not watching TV or playing computer games
You might like the fact that it gives them an interest away from TV and computers - but modern equipment like the PSR-E243 or PSR-E343 portable keywords with built in interactive Yamaha Education Suite and iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch compatibility mean there's still plenty of digital bells and whistles to keep them interested.
2. Playing an instrument improves teamwork and social interaction
Conductor of the Miami Symphony Orchestra, Eduardo Marturet, says that "Socially, children who become involved in a musical group or ensemble learn important life skills, such as how to relate to others, how to work as a team and appreciate the rewards that come from working together, and the development of leadership skills and discipline" (more on that in a minute). The added structure of socialising around a particular topic can also be helpful - but it needn't simply be orchestral music at schoool; learning to play pop or rock music with a group of like-minded kids offers all the same social benefits.
A great starting point to getting your kids thinking about playing music socially is gear like Yamaha's entry-level electric guitars.
3. Playing an instrument helps with patience and perseverance
The sense of reward that comes with practising an instrument - playing a first gig or finally managing to play the whole way through their favourite song - shows kids that persistently working hard at something pays off. Michael Matthews of Effective Music Teaching says "Most people can’t play every piece of music perfectly the first time. In fact, the majority of musicians have to work on difficult sections of music multiple times in a row before they can play it correctly [but] overcoming musical challenges that you thought you’d never quite master can give you a great sense of pride about yourself."
4. Playing an instrument helps with literacy and numeracy
There's strong evidence to suggest that learning an instrument helps with the development of language skills in children's growing brains: "Playing music engages the ability to extract relevant patterns, such as the sound of one's own instrument, harmonies and rhythms, from the 'soundscape'. Not surprisingly, musicians' nervous systems are more effective at utilising the patterns in music and speech alike" according to neuroscientist Professor Nina Kraus.
On the numeracy front, meanwhile, studies have shown that students who play instruments are often better at maths than students who don't. Mathematical aspects of music theory, such as counting notes or rhythms while reading music, are particularly beneficial. If you're particularly interested in the rhythm counting side of things, there's no better training tool than the Yamaha DTX400K Electronic Drum Kit with Guitar Hero-style iPhone app.