Why Kids Need Music & Theater
Have you ever wondered why most some schools have worked to hold on to and even strengthen their music programs at the same time other school systems are getting rid of them or scaling them back dramatically?
Years of studies and personal experiences have let us know that school music programs (and music in general) benefit kids in several important ways. If you have a desire for your child to be Smart, Team-Oriented, Goal-Oriented and Work-Oriented as well as an “Outside-the-Box” thinker then listen up!
Observant parents do not need to rely on the (many) studies that seem to link kids’ participation in music programs with intelligence and/or academic achievement. Music and music related classes like choir, band, private lessons and Musical Theater help students develop reading and problem-solving skills and can be similar to learning a language (being able to read music is similar to being able to speak a second language if you think about it!). In one hour of music class a student may delve into several (non-musical) areas such as math (rhythm and note values), foreign language (many musical terms and lyrics are in other languages) and history and culture (by listening to and studying the cultures and times that produced music we get put in touch with a part of history that can’t be ‘heard’ in the pages of a history book).
When I am explaining the benefits of music programs to parents, I often enjoy pointing out the parallels between music and sports programs. Both disciplines require students to be team-oriented and goal-oriented if they want to be successful. Much like a team practices and drills for weeks before the first real game, musical ‘teams’ like choirs, bands and theater casts practice, drill and really work hard so that the first “big game” - the performance - can go really well. In order to taste sweet victory of a winning season or a smash production or concert, team-mates need to bond together toward the common goal - acting as one body as opposed to a bunch of individuals. Experiencing the challenges and rewards of this kind of sweat and hard work is an unmistakable component of successful music programs.
Perhaps the most overlooked advantage of participation in music programs is the training and practice students receive in thinking “outside the box.” Educational experts are generally in agreement that one of the most important skills that current and future generations of Americans can possess is that problem-solving, deep analytical thinking ability that is difficult to describe and even more difficult to teach in a classroom. “Outside-the-box” thinking is creative and improvisational. It requires the thinker to have a solid mastery of many facts and parameters all at once and then synthesize the information and eventually come up with possible solutions, methods and outcomes.
So the next time you wonder if the rental fee on your kid’s tuba is worth it -
Try to remember that the initiative your child took to carry that thing, concentrate at rehearsals, practice at home and play in the band (team) with pride - is the same initiative that will guide her successfully through college, career and life.