From The Principal – 8 Reasons To Learn A Musical Instrument
One of my great regrets in life is that, other than the recorder, I have not learnt a musical instrument. I would love to play the guitar or the saxophone. Most people enjoy music, whether by listening, singing, or playing an instrument. Many of our Sisters of Mercy also played an instrument and had beautiful voices, so music has been at the heart of Santa Maria College since its foundations.
At Santa Maria, we have over 200 students who learn an instrument. These students are also part of one or more of our 16 bands, ensembles and choirs, many who showcased their talents at our Music Camp last weekend.
I spoke with our Music Captain Katia Fernandez this week about her talent and passion for all things musical and these two comments I would like to share.
- Music is not just a co-curricular it is like being part of a second family, they take care of you.
- After a performance, I scan the audience looking for Mum and Dad, and I see the pleasure on the faces of all the audience. I feel an overwhelming sense of happiness and accomplishment.
The Year 12 Music Class also shared the following:
- Kitriana talked about how you learn so much by persevering when learning a piece.
- Gabrielle spoke about the discipline that she has learnt and the belief in yourself that you will get there.
- Stephanie spoke of being a role model for the younger girls and the relationships you develop with them.
The common elements that the girls shared with me were that they all had a passion for music, they all feel a great sense of belonging and community, and they have all developed many friendships that they believe will last forever.
Why learn a Musical Instrument?
I believe there are eight significant benefits in the areas of brain development, academic achievement and wellbeing.
1. Musical instruments can teach discipline. Students will have to set time aside to practice and rise to the challenge of learning to master playing their instrument. Learning music leads to lasting changes in children’s brains, increasing their capacity to perform tasks that require sustained attention and good memory.
2. Students learn pattern recognition through music, which can develop their math and pattern-recognition skills. Students use these skills to solve math, art, engineering and technology problems.
3. Just like playing sports, students develop motor skills when playing music and practice can improve their hand-eye coordination, which helps the development of other skills such as writing.
4. Learning music promotes craftsmanship. Students want to perform to a high standard, so this encourages persistence to a masterpiece. This desire can be applied to all subjects they study and encourages perseverance, overcoming challenges and a drive for excellence.
5. Each year our data indicates that our music students are always among the highest achieving students academically. Many of our former top students have also been talented musicians. “Study after study proves that regardless of socioeconomic background, music-making students do better in school than those who have no music involvement” (SpreadMusicNow)
6. Being part of a choir, band or orchestra requires teamwork. In these groups, students will learn how to collaborate and build camaraderie. “Music has great power for bringing people together. With so many forces in this world acting to drive wedges between people, it’s important to preserve those things that help us experience our common humanity.” www.menc.org/supportmusic_cases
7. Music gives children a means to express themselves, to unleash their creativity and provides students with a positive outlet for their energy. Music is a great way to develop positive mental health and a means to release stress and most importantly have fun.
8. Performing a musical piece for an audience can be daunting, but doing so teaches students how to take risks and deal with nerves. These opportunities help them build pride and confidence in themselves. The intrinsic value of music and the personal satisfaction it creates cannot be overestimated.
Parents can be confident that an investment in music lessons, or your daughter’s commitment to a choir, band or ensemble, will deliver lifelong benefits regardless of age. The research, however, does suggest the benefits are greatest when a child begins at a young age.
Music education is an invaluable and essential part of education for young people and is at the heart of the Santa Maria College community. Thank you to Paul Kinsella and the talented teachers and tutors. Without them, this could not be possible.
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