You just leaned back on the couch and are thumbing through your favorite magazine. You appreciate the peace and have been looking forward to this bit of downtime. Suddenly, echoing through the halls, comes the penetrating and not too pleasing sound of some kind of Beethoven's Sixth hybrid that your youngest child is relentlessly trying to pound out on the piano. Before yelling at your kid to knock it off or play quieter, think again.
Scientists studying the effects of musical training note certain brain structures are larger in musicians than non-musicians. This suggests that musical training can influence brain organization and ability. In fact, studies show that musically adept children and adults do significantly better on memory and puzzle solving tests than those whose musical knowledge stops at, let's say, Billy Ray Cyrus. In addition, some research shows that listening to Mozart helps college students study and Alzheimer's patients cope with daily tasks.
In light of this knowledge, parents should encourage their children to engage in the wonder of musical training. Can it be a pain and hassle? Yes. Can it cost a decent amount of money? Yes. Will your kids usually want to practice? No. And the latter reason is usually why parents don't encourage their kids in musical art- because it's just too much hassle to get junior to practice.
So how can you turn your kids on to playing music? One of the best catalysts is if the parents play music. Children often want to mimic mom and dad, so put that to good use. Even if you don't know how to play an instrument, why not learn along with your child? If that doesn't work, simply taking them to concerts or the local music gallery can whet their musical appetite.
Also, explain to your children why music is important -not just the physiological benefits, but also how music can enlarge a human's soul. All cultures throughout the world view music as integral to their society because music can touch what mere language cannot. In addition, you and your kids can talk about what acceptable music is and what the standards should be. If you're not quite sure about a standard, here's a start: "Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul." (JS Bach)
And, according to Bach, learning to play music isn't really all that hard : "All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself."
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