Autism, ADHD, PDNOS, dyslexia…..the list goes on and on and on. It seems like every time we turn around there is some “expert” telling us that something else is “wrong” with all of our kids. In the U.S. today millions of kids are in counseling, therapy and even on drugs for all sorts of problems now deemed “mental health conditions.”
Not surprisingly, this is very controversial. While some claim that these conditions need to be addressed with professional help, others contend that they are vastly overdiagnosed. Some parents, for example, praise ADHD drugs for their children, while others claim that it turns their kids into “ritalin zombies.” Critics contend that the broadening symptoms of mental health disorders are simply turning childhood into a mental illness. On the other hand, supporters argue that these therapies are necessary for mental development. As the debate rages, I can’t help but ask….what role can music education play?
- Music helps our focus. Anyone who has studied music for any length of time attests to the tremendous focus it requires. A pianist needs to think about hand position, right hand/left hand coordination, notes, phrasing, and many other things all at once. Drummers often play multiple complex rhythms at the same time. A singer must balance breath intensity as well as focus on the shape of a vowel. It is no surprise that musicians are so naturally focused and often succeed at many complex tasks.
- Music alleviates “screen addiction.” We’ve all seen it when we go out in public. A child is buried in their iphone or tablet and never looks up at all. What are they doing when they are lost in electronics? For a few seconds, a child is playing a game. Then, they quickly check their social media. Immediately afterward, they might post a comment. Then, back to the game. These rapid shifts in attention can go on for hours and hours. Is it any wonder that our children can no longer focus? Should we be surprised when they have no social skills? Spending time on a musical instrument forces a child to focus on perfecting one thing at a time. Often, students tell me that a practice session helps them feel refreshed and renewed.
- Music teaches us the value of repetition. In order to learn to play well, you simply need to do things over and over again. There really is no getting around this. Neurologists claim that thinking patterns are developed through greater repetitions (the same is true of lifting weights and the body). While students may claim that practice is boring, it is actually teaching them to learn by doing.
Are you worried about your child’s mental health? Do you want to help your child overcome learning disabilities? Does your child’s screen time bother you? Contact us and start your musical learning journey today!
Text “music” to 210-259-1236.