Does your child’s extra-curricular regime look a little like this?
14 hours a week of cello? 10 hours a week of piano? 5 hours a week of guitar? Endless recitals and practice sessions, nail-biting competitions, summer-camps, and one giant hole in your bank balance. Do you ever feel like a pushy “stage-parent” sending your children to lessons, maybe to live out some unfulfilled dream from your misspent youth? Or maybe you never had a chance to pick up musicality as a teen. Now you want to give your child an opportunity you never had the privilege of. Whatever the answer, it can sometimes feel like it’s not really worth it.
Perhaps you are concerned that you’re carelessly spending valuable time on extreme parenting. Maybe it’s a ludicrous fact that your kids spend so much time learning to play an instrument. Fear not dear parents. The Washington Post recently reported that time spent studying music can help with children’s emotional development and behavioural growth.
The research showed that time spent studying an instrument can help their promote anxiety management mechanisms in the brain, as well as stimulating emotional control.
James Hudziak, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont and Director of the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families, stated: “What we found was the more a child trained on an instrument the more it accelerated cortical organization in attention skill, anxiety management and emotional control.”
Hudziak continued: “I wanted to look at positive things, what we believe benefits child development…what I was surprised by was the emotional regulatory regions. Everyone in our culture knows if I lift 5-pound, 10-pound, 15-pound weights, my biceps will get bigger. The same is true for the brain. We shouldn’t be surprised we can train the brain.” After Hudziak discovered this, he actually started viola lessons and following a year of lessons he can’t play anything! But his brain is already exhibiting substantially positive changes. So, what if after all these lessons the child never picks up the instrument again? Perhaps it is enough to know that an individual has grown creatively, artistically and emotionally because of an involvement in music. That however, will not subdue the frustration caused by a child quitting. Is it a case of lots of hard work and piles of dollars thrown away for nothing?
Some might argue that there is a beauty in quitting; it is one more step on the road to deciding what you really want to do.