My parents hosted parties around the year. Music filled our house as much as the people. I remember the rich smells of my mother’s cooking, clinking glasses, trickling conversations and the vibrant tones of notes cascading throughout. Sometimes the music escaped speakers, carefully selected to fit the mood of the event, but most of the time, I remember impromptu live concerts. There was always an available piano or well-tuned guitars, and definitely no shortage of vocal talent.
The tradition of music being a part of my lifestyle has never waned. In fact, I myself, have been a performer of some sort for over 30 years. My instrumental background includes the harpsichord, piano, soprano recorder and oboe. There have even been a few occasions that I have been caught singing.
Why is music in your child’s life so important? Music stimulates the brain in a way that promotes creativity, emotional stability, and advanced learning. According to Don Campbell, a well respected teacher and researcher, “music stimulates the brain, the emotions, and the body simultaneously. Auditory impulses structure the way we learn to communicate. In speech, movement, and expression, music holds many nutrients for the developing mind of children.”
And the benefits of music instruction aren’t just limited to early childhood, according to “How Music Can Help Your Child Learn” on education.com:
“According to the National Association for Music Education, SAT takers with a background involving musical instruction score significantly higher than their non-musically trained counterparts – a surprising 56 points higher on the verbal portion and 39 points higher on the math portion of the test. Other advocates of music instruction also cite numerous non-musical benefits including the building of greater self-esteem, concentration and coordination. And the longer music instruction lasts, the greater the benefits.”
It never occurred to me that my children’s academic security, positive self-esteem or individuality might have been improved due to the music that inundated their childhood, since it resembled my own. Recently, I have become more aware that most children have not had the same opportunities. And with all the educational budget cuts, some may never be exposed to such amazing sounds and dynamics. That is why it is so important to seek out community events, concerts, and organizations that provide musical venues. You can also create a musical environment by visiting local libraries, participating in community education classes, or attending your local high school band concerts.
Here are just a few resources providing family-friendly concerts:
*Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra is partnering with The Henry Ford Museum and the Sphinx Organization on April 29th to bring you violinist and composer Gareth Johnson. Also, mark your calendar for a free concert in Riverside Park, Ypsilanti on May 26th.
*Detroit Symphony Orchestra offers concerts for children and families that are both fun and educational. Be sure to reserve tickets for their free event Dance! Sing! Swing! on Saturday, June 2nd, sponsored by Target.
*Dearborn Symphony Orchestra allows you to bring children to their dress rehearsals for free! Dress rehearsals are usually at 7:30pm the night before a scheduled performance. Check their website for more information.