There’s a piano piece of music I’ll always remember. It’s called ‘Busy bees’ and it consists of simultaneously hitting the same two black keys over and over again. It’s the first piece my son played with he started piano classes. Two and a half years later he can play reasonably difficult piano pieces and there’re many other positive changes I’ve seen in him. Studying music can help children in a variety of ways, some of them seemingly unrelated to their lessons.
My son was a shy, introverted child when he first started and he refused to perform in front of the class, no matter how well prepared he was. He’s still an introvert and will probably always be, but his shyness is now gone. After hours of practicing and playing concerts at home, one day he raised his hand of his own accord to do a solo performance. He’s now more comfortable delivering his speeches at school and even auditioned for a lead role in the school musical. I don’t think he actually wanted the role and he didn’t get it, but he was brave enough to give it a go.
Ability to deal with difficult emotions
From the very beginning my son discovered without any prompting (it wouldn’t have even crossed my mind to suggest it!) that when he was angry or upset, he could play the piano and it made him feel better. To this day it remains his most effective way of dealing with difficult emotions and just for that reason the piano classes have been well worth their price.
Better learning outcomes
Research shows that studying music can contribute to improved ability in other non-musical areas, such as reasoning, logical thinking, numeracy and literacy. While I have no way of measuring how much my child’s learning abilities have been enhanced by piano classes, I can see how they can be interrelated. The piano keyboard, for example, is a perfect visual representation of music, with lowest to highest notes arranged left to right. Children learn to understand the relationship between two completely different ways of experiencing the world (visual and auditory), which requires logic and recognising patterns. It only makes sense that this ability will transfer to other areas of life.
At first, it’s hard for children to grasp that they need to put in hours and hours of practice to become proficient at any skill. But as the hours add up, children get tangible evidence of their progress and a proof that persistence pays off, which will motivate them to keep going in other endeavours, too.
Sense of achievement
Yesterday my son was overjoyed that he could play a song from his new piano book, which looked impossibly difficult at first glance. ‘This is because I’ve practiced a lot.’ Then he asked me if I remembered ‘Busy Bees’. How could I ever forget?