4 Ways Music Builds Character In Children
By Amelia Gold
Too often for children today, music is a pursuit undertaken alone, often outside of the school day. Despite all that we have learned about how music affects the way that children learn and process emotions, too often this important academic subject is pushed away to make room for disciplines that can be more easily tested and measured. But, if you ever wondered why music should be considered an essential, not extra, part of the curriculum, please consider these four important reasons:
1. Music encourages Courtesy. When children play in a group, they must engage in attentive listening. This is no easy task as students are excited to play their own pieces and demonstrate their musical skill. Playing as an ensemble however, requires students to actively listen to peers and value the contributions of others, a cornerstone for building respect and courtesy in a learning community.
2. Music makes us more considerate. Learning an instrument certainly builds self-esteem and an important sense of accomplishment in children. But playing in a group is a privilege that also comes with responsibilities. Students must be sensitive to the skills and abilities of others and as members of a cohesive ensemble, learn to to trust and rely on one another.
3. Music builds Cooperation. Student-musicians work in harmony toward the same goal. This backdrop provides a positive environment to enhance interaction and build lasting community experiences. Music also helps students form close emotional connections to other cultures, because they learn by doing. Through the study of music, singing lyrics in other languages and dance, children broaden their understanding of other cultures. By experiencing the diversity of music, they come to know western or classical music as one piece of the world's rich, artistic tapestry made up of different people each adding their distinct ingredients and backgrounds.
4. Music teaches compassion. The collective joy we experience through music is even better when we share it with others. Music programs in schools also allows for students to be valued for talents and skills that they contribute beyond the four walls of the classroom. When schools have concerts or other musical performance, it allows the entire community of children and adults, parents and teachers, to come together and experience pride in students’ accomplishments. Music can also facilitate students accessing powerful emotions, leading to the greater social emotional awareness that is an important skill for successful students to master.