Boost Strategic Skills With Music
By Toni Broshears
For a young child, the idea of school can be both exhilarating and terrifying. If the focus is strictly upon learning reading, writing and arithmetic, some children will excel while others will not be capable of measuring up. As a parent, it is important to find additional avenues for your child to engage in self expression at school in order to create healthy self esteem.
Self esteem is critically important for children, as it creates a sense of worth and purpose as they grow into adults. It can shape the very direction of their lives. Self esteem can be cultivated using many tools but one of the most fun ways to create a sense of self esteem is through the use of music.
Music gives kids the opportunity to express their feelings and emotions beyond a verbal level. For kids that are very physical, this type of expression is often limited to activity on the playground or mischief in class, which can lead to trouble. With music, the rambunctious child can have the opportunity to dance, play and get rowdy with a musical instrument without the threat of punishment. Praise for natural behavior can help build your child’s self esteem.
On another level, music can also help your child advance at a quicker pace. The creation of music, like any team effort, can help your child step outside of his personal perimeters and work with a group for a common goal. Normally, the ability to work together towards an achievement (such as making a shot in basketball) is impossible to orchestrate at a young age. With music, the individual opportunity to create while working towards the whole can help your child to develop the skill of strategic thinking.
In a musical group setting, your child has the opportunity to work with a group goal in mind while exploring individually. It’s important to remember that, without guidance, children develop at their own pace. When it comes to play, whether in sports, music or life, children do not begin to think in terms of strategy until they are at least seven or eight. This natural mentality to avoid strategy can be circumvented with the use of music.
Using music as a guiding structure, it is possible to coach children to begin to think in terms of an end result earlier than they would have naturally done so. For example, the goal to play a song is a simple one. If a group of kids are assigned an instrument, taught how to play their part and have an awareness of what the song will sound like when completed, the group is more apt to work together together to create an end result.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if children under the ages of seven or eight were left to play around with their musical instruments without guidance or coaching, it would most likely be a cacophony of noise. Playing with the instruments rather than strategizing towards the end result would be the natural instinct. This group effort can help your child begin to think in terms of strategy long before he naturally would have done so.
Remember, children grow and develop at a different pace. Even if your child is excelling in a classroom environment with standard reading, writing and arithmetic, the benefits of working with music still apply. Research opportunities within your community to allow your child to grow and develop through the world of music. Many schools have resources for musical education. If your school does not, research local music centers or consider hosting a music group at your home. Investing in inexpensive instruments such as tambourines, jingle bells, used drum sets and similar can create a nice back up orchestra for a main instrument, such as a piano or keyboard.
When it comes to building self esteem, a team mentality and strategy skills, music can be a very important teacher. Research the various opportunities that are offered in your school and community regarding a musical education. Not only will your child appreciate this fun way to learn, his cognitive skills will grow exponentially. That’s something to sing about!