Habits formed in childhood are often the hardest to break – eating unhealthily, poor attitude to studying, or a lack of physical exercise. But it’s also equally the best time to form good habits, and set your child on a healthy path for life. There’s lots of evidence to suggest that the most effective way of doing this is to lead by example, being a good role model for your child and letting them copy rather than being too controlling. Another good idea is to encourage hobbies or pastimes which develop positive skills such as discipline and diligence – and a great example of this is learning to play a musical instrument.
photo credit- http://abbottfamily.com.sg/articles/pre-school/breakfast
There are amazing benefits to music. Learning to play a musical instrument is well known to develop focus, patience and dedication; all important skills for children to possess through school and into adult life, helping to combat today’s culture of instant gratification. Learning to play an instrument is also a great way to de-stress, providing something outside of regular life to focus on for a period each day in a manner similar to mindfulness; and physically can benefit awareness of one’s body and manual dexterity.
A musical education is also excellent for nurturing creativity, and is just simply fun for its own sake – who doesn’t want to be able to hit off their favorite tune? Playing with friends and at parties can be a great social connector and confidence builder, and what parent wouldn’t want to try for the holy grail: something which keeps them off smartphones? A good routine with regular healthy meals has been shown to help academic performance and lower obesity – and practising a musical instrument can be easily slotted into your child’s daily schedule.
If you’ve ever heard the statement that playing music can make you smarter, you might have dismissed it, but there’s now more evident than ever before to back-up this claim. When you’re playing or listening to music, your brain releases chemicals known as BDNF, synapsin I and CREB. These have all been proven to strengthen your mental capabilities and physically grows your brain.
Try thinking of music as a kind of fertilizer and nourishment for the garden that is your mind.
Where to begin
If you’re ready to take the next step and introduce your child to a musical instrument, think about what might be practical – after all, a piano takes up more room than a violin – but encourage any natural preference your child might have. Guitars are a popular choice, and simple chords are easy to get started on.
As with encouraging healthy eating, it’s best to lead by example and nurture a positive attitude to practising an instrument, rather than being too controlling and risk pushing too hard. Instead of making your child learn ‘properly’ and progress through basic learner tunes, make sure their teacher is encouraging them to play what they really want to. This helps to avoid discouragement and frustration of being forced to learn something they’re not interested in, and will help to foster a lifelong enjoyment of music – as well as those all-important healthy lifestyle habits.