I am passionate about what I do. It brings me great pleasure to see students succeed and accomplish their goals, and I’m sure it is the same in your studio. As music teachers, we know many, many reasons why music benefits and enriches the lives of our students and their families. But do they know? We need to reinforce the “why” of what we are doing from time to time, so at my last recital I took a few minutes to share some of these benefits with the students and family members present. The following are the areas I covered. I would love to hear how you give your students “big-picture” motivation.
The Many Benefits of Music
Music is beneficial on many levels. It is the universal language of our hearts. Just like our spoken language, where we learn to read, write and communicate, and appreciate the communications of others, we can learn to communicate in the language of music. This is why the students and I go over and over a concept until it is internalized and fully understood. This is why we listen to great artists of the past and present to learn to appreciate music’s potential and beauty. And this is why I encourage improvisation and composition, so students learn to speak their own original thoughts in music.
Music grows new connections in the brain. Because of the way our two hands are used, playing the piano develops these connections better than any other instrument. Piano study improves math skills, coordination, and multi-level thinking. Students slowly develop independence of the hands, and the ability for each hand to perform a completely different action in coordinated unison.
Studying music develops character. It has been said that it takes 10 years at 20 hours per week to truly master a subject. That’s a lot of commitment and patience, a lot of showing up and doing the work, even on days and weeks you don’t feel like it. That is a lot of delayed gratification. This is why I build in smaller, more immediate gratifications along the way, such as rewards, recitals, social activities, and practice challenges. [···]