As parents, we know the options for our kids’ extra-curricular programmes are vast and varied. We make decisions on those options based on a similarly wide range of reasons: our child shows an interest; their friends are doing it; we want them to learn or experience something; it fits into our schedule; it fits into our family budget; and the list goes on. All kinds of activities are fighting for our parental dollars and time. We all have a lot on our plates.
Unfortunately for many, music ends up being low on the list. It’s important that our kids get exercise, team-building, coordination skills, etc. But what I am seeing these days are many children and young people growing up with a distinct lack of social awareness and empathy, an inability to focus on anything that is not on a screen, and at the most basic level, an outlet for those crazy emotions that we all have to learn to control as we grow into adults.
Music in particular sparks a magical mixture of benefits that research has shown us over and over: brain and body benefits, emotional and social benefits. This is a recipe that no other activity can provide in the same way.
We’re championing ‘creativity’ as a skill that is going to be near the top of every recruiter’s wish list in the near future. It already is at the top of many. But are our children getting the opportunity to explore real, tactile creativity? I mean, aside from Minecraft, Garageband and choosing cool filters on their Instagram pics? And what about emotional and social health?
Here are just a few of the things music and the arts can help develop in our kids:
Ability to receive constructive feedback
I don’t deny the importance of sports in the lives of kids. Heck, my own kids definitely have their fair share on the go. But just as we aim to give our kids healthy meals that will keep their bodies strong and growing, we should be ensuring their ‘brain and soul plates’ are just as balanced. Let’s give our kids the opportunity to be truly healthy, inside and out. Let’s keep music and the arts on the menu.