Guest Post by Deborah Tayloe
Everyone’s heard how about the value of learning music. It is supposed to help with school, social skills, and more. You are slugging through daily practice, driving to lessons, working hard. Ultimately, you try to assure yourself, after all this work, your child will eventually learn to play. However, you may be missing the bigger lessons that your children are learning from playing the violin.
Here’s some food for thought.
LESSON ONE: IT’S OK TO MAKE MISTAKES
In today’s ultra-competitive schools and workplaces, it’s important that kids learn that it’s ok to make mistakes!
Rest assured, your child will make mistakes when she’s learning to play the violin. It’s a natural part of the learning process. In fact, even the most experienced, accomplished violinists make mistakes!
It’s not the mistake that matters, it’s how you learn from the mistake. Your child will learn to recognize that he made a mistake, take advice on how to fix it, and move forward with a fresh start. While that’s a great skill for a budding violinist, is it not quite applicable to all of us in everyday life?
LESSON TWO: HOW TO ACCEPT FEEDBACK
The second life lesson your child will learn during violin lessons is how to accept feedback. We all get feedback…all day, every day. We hear opinions from our employers, spouses, children, and even on social media.
Your child will get feedback from her violin instructor. As your child plays his violin, the teacher will help him make adjustments that will improve his playing.
This type of interaction will teach him that it’s perfectly fine to listen to suggestions, process the information, make corrections, and move on without being angry or offended. He will learn to work with others and be accepting of other opinions. This skill will transfer with him to home, school, and the workplace.
LESSON THREE: TIME MANAGEMENT
Another life lesson that is very important is punctuality. It seems that we are all in a rush, shuffling from one meeting or appointment to the next. Inevitably, our plans get messed up and we are late to something.
Look at this honestly…we all have the same number of hours in the day. Some people manage their time better than others. We run late not because of lack of time, but the lack of time management.
Children who learn to play the violin learn to balance school, homework, practice, lessons, and recitals. They learn quickly that if they are not a recital, the show will go on without them! Learning this skill is very practical…and it’s not a skill that’s taught at any school. It’s one that’s learned from experience.
LESSON FOUR: THE VALUE OF COLLABORATION
Playing the violin can be a very collaborative effort. Children who learn to play the violin learn to get along with others. They will collaborate with their instructors, an ensemble, accompanists, and other violin students.
Let’s be honest. You may know somebody who you don’t like very well, but you need to deal with often. It can be another mom on a child’s team, a co-worker, or even a family member. However, for the sake of the team/office/family unit you learn to work with that person.
This is an important life lesson! We need to be able to collaborate and work well with others.
LESSON FIVE: WAITING PATIENTLY
It’s really hard to wait. Even as an adult, I get impatient when people are late for an appointment.
For example, I schedule a dental exam six months early. Yet, when I arrive a few minutes early, I usually wait for 20 minutes before being called back for my appointment. I’m sure that you’ve experienced the same situation.
In times like this, we can either be stressed out and let our blood pressure rise, or we can pull out our tablet and take advantage of doing something productive with our free time.
Children need to learn to wait patiently, and this is a difficult concept to teach. Children who play musical instruments will have wait time. They will wait for the instructor to be ready for their lesson, they will wait for their cue to play in an ensemble, they will wait for Mom or Dad to pick them up from rehearsal.
This is a teaching opportunity. While children have wait time, they will learn to use the time to do homework, practice the violin, or just relax and play a game on their phone. Indeed, this grooms them for a lifetime of waiting patiently for other people instead of being stressed.
LESSON SIX: HOW TO WORK ALONE
It seems like kids today are so plugged in. They are surrounded by friends and family. However, they are also plugged into social media and can connect to someone quickly with just a few keystrokes.
But alone time is also a great thing! Children will learn that alone does not equal lonely. It gives them time to perfect their playing, complete schoolwork, and even just daydream.
Children who play the violin will learn how to spend time alone and work alone. They will learn to work alone, independent of others, while they practice or sit waiting for lessons to start. They can even be encouraged to visualize an outcome of their musical aspirations.
In the very “connected” society today, alone time is something that children will learn to value.
So when you’re frustrated and tired, keep these 6 life lessons children learn from playing the violin in your back pocket. Pull them out and renew your commitment. It’s worth it!
AUTHOR BIO: Deborah Tayloe is a professional writer and blogger for Musical Instruments Expert. When she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her unwinding by playing her violin.