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7 Incredible Reasons Why Your Child Should Learn A Musical Instrument Today

7 Incredible Reasons Why Your Child Should Learn A Musical Instrument Today

Most children are naturally attracted to the musical sounds produced by different instruments and voices. If a child moves to the rhythm of music, you may have a future pianist, guitarist, or perhaps drummer at home. Music brings enormous benefits to children. And it’s not just about listening. Learning to play an instrument is a window to a new world. Music stimulates brain activity, and it is now being revealed that musicians have functionally different brains from non-musicians, especially in the areas of the brain used in cognitive reasoning.

Here are seven super reasons why you should help your child learn a musical instrument.

1. Improves Academic Success

More and more studies show that there is a relationship between musical training and academic achievement. This is because studying music improves cognitive reasoning. Someone who is learning an instrument is stimulating parts of his or her brain that are also used in academic studies. In addition, musical training is also a fantastic way to exercise one’s memory.

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2. Improves Social Interaction

Attending music classes with other children or participating in an orchestra will encourage social interaction in children, which is especially beneficial for introverts. Children in a musical group also learn to work as a team and are able to appreciate the benefits of working together as they develop their leadership and social interaction skills.

3. Boosts Self Esteem

Believing in oneself is key to moving forward in life. Encouraging your child to take the challenge of learning an instrument will teach him or her how to manage self-esteem and frustration. If the child sees that he is able to develop a skill by himself and realizes that he is improving day by day, his self-confidence will increase.

4. Teaches Patience and Discipline

Due to globalization and the influence of the internet, children are becoming increasingly impatient and less likely to value the effort involved in working toward a goal. Therefore, teaching a child to play an instrument can be a good remedy for these modern forces and can quell impatience. Moreover, when studying music with a group of children, a child will have to wait his or her turn and work as part of a team, which will make the child learn the rules of coexistence and respect.

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For a child attending music classes alone is not enough, he or she also has to spend time at home. This requires discipline, an added value that will teach a child to be more organized.

5. Reduces Stress

Like adults, children need to disconnect from their daily routine. In this sense, music can be a great method of stress reduction with enormous advantages over other methods. Unlike passive activities such as watching TV or surfing the internet, music makes a child feel more alive.

6. Improves Respiratory System

When learning a wind instrument like the flute or clarinet, a child will need to take big breaths and learn how to expel the air appropriately to produce the desired sound. This sort of practice also opens a door to breathing exercises that can strengthen a child’s respiratory system.

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7. Boosts Self-Confidence

If a child conquers a musical challenge, that achievement alone can give the child a great sense of pride.  When a child starts learning how to play an instrument, simply hitting a high pitch seems like an amazing accomplishment. Even producing a series of pleasant sounds for the first time can dramatically increase a child’s self-esteem and boost self-confidence.

Finally, the benefits of learning an instrument are innumerable. Apart from having a positive impact on the behavior of a child, it can also improve his or her overall well-being. But, caution should be taken and the decision to learn to play an instrument should be a child’s sole decision.

Therefore, before signing up for music classes, the key is to talk to the child first to see how motivated he or she is.

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Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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George Olufemi O

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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