Music Education for Life
It’s more than just music.
I’m not exaggerating when I say music education has been a big part of my life and my family’s life. While we all love our favourite tunes, I’m talking about a deeper connection with music. A connection that started in our childhoods and has played an integral part in shaping the people that we’ve become.
For my teenaged daughter that connection is still growing as we encourage her to explore music and what she likes and doesn’t like. We’ve encouraged her to take private music education lessons for a couple of different instruments, such as the piano and flute, before she settled on her love of singing. I encourage her because I was lucky enough to have music education as part of my life.
That’s no surprise as my dad was a musician and both my parents were advocates for music education in schools and private lessons. In fact, my parents selected the high school I went to not because it was the closest one but because they knew the music teacher had a passion for music education like they did.
I grew up with not only a family history of musicians, my dad, my grandfather, etc., but with my dad’s fellow musicians always at our house and my dad’s woodwind repair shop, which was the bottom half of the commercial building that was also our home. I was surrounded by music and musicians seven days a week.
Here’s a collage of what would often happen at our house in my dad’s studio. My dad is the top photo with fellow musicians and friends, some of the many who were part of a the family.
I have many memories of Christmas mornings, New Year’s Eve and other celebrations with our house full of music, and I mean musicians at our house were playing just for the pure joy of it. I grew up thinking that having private music lessons and people throughout the house playing saxophone, clarinet, flute or the occasional trumpet was the norm. Imagine my surprise when I realized that not all of my friends got to experience that. It’s no wonder my house was the popular gathering place for my and my brother’s friends.
Now you may think that it was my dad who was my music teacher, that wasn’t the case. He knew that parents didn’t always make the best teachers when it comes to their children. My piano teacher they found through the Royal Conservatory of Music and my flute teacher played with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, a friend of my dad’s who also brought the care and repair of her flute to my dad. Yes, I know I was a lucky girl.
Even as I write this I realize that my childhood wasn’t ordinary, it was extraordinary, and I firmly believe that every child should have the chance to experience the joy of music education and its many benefits that go far beyond the music itself. For example, many researchers have linked music lessons with improved IQ and academic performance. 1 Studies have also shown that music education can increase empathy, better-working memory, greater abilities to focus, and increases their cognitive capacities, enabling them to perform better in many other aspects of their life. 1
While I didn’t pursue a career in music, I enjoyed it, and it sparked my creativity. It ignited my passion for writing and photography. Now as a parent I’m watching my daughter grow, and her creativity continues to astound me. As I mentioned she has a love for singing and oh what a lovely voice she has, but she also loves art, writes mini-novels, is a computer whiz and does well in science. She has endless possibilities ahead of her as does any child if we as parents nurture that growth.
I firmly believe, and studies have shown, that there are so many developmental benefits of music lessons that we need to give every child that opportunity. It’s also just as important to ensure that your child has a qualified instructor for their music lessons. Fortunately, you can find qualified instructors at the Royal Conservatory’s online National Music Teacher Directory. It takes all the guess work out of finding a good instructor. Just go to their site HERE, select the instrument your child needs lessons for (there’s also voice instructors available), enter your postal code and maximum distance you want to travel for lessons. Once all the information is entered it provides you a list of instructors, their addresses, and a link to email them.
It’s more than just music. It’s a pathway for children to reach their full potential of whatever they want to be.
1 Royal Conservatory of Music – The Benefits of Music Education