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Thanks to The Network Niche, today’s post, Benefits of Learning an Instrument | Keep it Affordable, is sponsored by Music & Arts.
When you were younger, did you take music lessons after school or play in the band at school? Or, was your exposure to music more limited with a culmination of playing the recorder at school?
I was fortunate to have my parents decide to invest in my sisters and I’s learning the piano for as long as we maintained the interest. I’ve made the conscious decision to provide music as an important part of my boys’ learning both in the form of music appreciation and actual instruments.
There are many benefits to learning an instrument which pay dividends in other areas of life. However, affordability can be an obstacle for many which just needs a solution in place.
Benefits of Learning an Instrument
Have you heard people tossing around antidotal pieces indicating that playing a musical instrument will make their kid into a genius? Well, it won’t guarantee that your son or daughter is the next Einstein. However, there is plenty of research out there to indicate there are multiple benefits of learning an instrument and they do not all apply in the area of music or specific academic success (e.g. math.)
Learning an instrument takes patience and practice. Not a single person I know in my life was a prodigy who just sat at the piano or picked up another instrument and was proficient overnight. Instead, they had to work to learn the basics and practice to hone those skills to a mastery level which then enabled them to learn more complicated selections. The exercise of patience and diligence required for practicing skills can translate into improved performance in other areas.
Every instrument I’ve encountered requires hand – eye coordination. My eldest son opted to switch from piano to guitar as the combined need to process written notes on the page and then translate to using both hands on the keyboard was a challenging skill for him. Ironically, I have not mastered the guitar as years of playing piano have the need to use your hands differently seem difficult for me.
How does keeping your brain ‘young’ sound? Activities that challenge your brain on many levels, such as learning to play a musical instrument, provide great stimulation for your brain. While you can learn something in your adulthood, picking up an instrument earlier in life is that much easier for many. Even if you take a break from it as a young adult, you can quickly regain skills later in life.
I’ve seen this in my own life where years as a mom have me experiencing spurts of inactivity on my piano. However, getting back into the swing of things isn’t impossible and I often wonder why I didn’t make time to continually play as it is enjoyable. That’s right! You can get a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when playing an instrument. That can then lead to a reduction in stress. Plus, how can you be bored when there is a vast array of music waiting for you to play?
How to Keep it Affordable
Musical instruments and lessons for your child are not cheap. Depending upon your son or daughter’s instrument of choice, the cost to purchase it could lead to a bit of hyperventilation. My parents invested in a piano in part to have three kids use it over more than a decade instead of multiple instruments which might have been played for just a year or two. Thankfully, there ARE options.
The cost saving option we were introduced to when our third son began band last year is the idea of renting your instrument. He elected to start with clarinet which was on the lower end of expenses and we found a previous rental instrument at a lower price point. However, he has friends whose parents did go down the rental path as paying $20, $30, $40 or $50 dollars per month was much easier to manage than thousands up front. Seeing how many of his fellow 6th graders from last year have dropped band from their schedule in 7th grade, renting became not only affordable but easier than having an unused instrument sitting on a shelf for ‘some day’ when it will be picked up again or sold to a new owner. That is how my 7th grader now has a saxophone on top of the clarinet in our house. My nephew set it aside with no desire to return to playing, so we purchased it from them.
As for the process of learning, hiring an instructor is definitely the best and preferred way to get started. However, I can share that my boys have learned a lot from their individual exploration and online programs, all in concert with someone with good technique and teaching ability working to support them. My one son quickly worked his way through the beginning clarinet book on home on his own just reading and following instructions with reinforcement in band class. His desire to push himself contributed to his ability to place in the district wide honor band with limited seats per instrument. He is excited to be in the intermediate band at the middle school this year and plans to audition for the junior youth symphony run by the school district. This proud mother can’t wait to see where he goes on this musical journey.
Curious of where to start the process? Visit Music & Arts for local information on music instrument rentals. Also, don’t miss the upcoming Twitter party with fun and prizes on Wednesday, September 9th at 9 pm EST. Follow @thenetworkniche for all the details and I hope to ‘see’ you there!
Do you play an instrument or have a child/children that do?
Was renting an instrument the chosen path to get started for your family?