When I was about four years old, I would listen to the songs on Sesame Street, then I would run downstairs to our upright piano and fiddle with the keys until the song came out. I still remember at such a young age how fascinated I was to be able to replicate a song I heard with my own fingers on this massive instrument, with my feet dangling from the stool.
As my passion grew, my parents enrolled me into piano classes with the Royal Conservatory at McGill, in Montreal, where we lived. My husband also studied with the Royal Conservatory. I learned so much through piano lessons. Most importantly, I was able to unleash a creative side of me that only comes from music.
Being able to sit in front of the piano and create music from my own mind was a gift I will forever be grateful to my parents for. They offered me music classes at such an early age without hesitation. And I suppose it’s because they knew what I know now: the benefits of music for children go far beyond music appreciation.
Music developed sides of me that have helped me all my life: patience, determination, empathy, confidence and passion.
As soon as my boys were old enough to take music lessons, they chose their instrument and we signed them up. Each one of them has chosen different instruments – piano, drums and voice. And since then, they have all shown a uniqueness to music that I adore.
One of my twins will literally come home from school, drop his backpack and play piano. His stories of the day come out as he plays. Soft and tender, loud and strong; music gives him an outlet to express himself. One of his spontaneous creations is my ringtone.
Drums have been the most difficult for my husband and me as we had zero knowledge of how drums were practiced. Thankfully, my son has an incredible teacher that is patient and playful. My son loves going to his lessons and learning how to drum. This year at his music recital, he played Come Together by The Beatles and blew us all away.
To be able to stand up in front of over 300 people with only a microphone in your hand is hard as an adult. Imagine as a young boy who loves to sing. My other twin has a song in his heart that his teacher helps him release with confidence and strength. His voice is solid and on key, and songs have given him a memory for words that is incredible.
I could go on forever to explain all the benefits I believe music has but I think these stories speak for themselves. However, if you are a parent who has kept music on the side and stuck to sports and other extracurricular activities for your children, there are solid scientific facts that prove just how beneficial the study of music is to sharpening cognitive skills and developing social connections.
Over 200 neuroscientists around the world are studying music and the brain and for good reason. In a 2009 Canadian study, with only four weeks of musical training, young children showed dramatic improvement in their verbal and intelligence scores. To read more, The Royal Conservatory has published a study called “The Benefits of Music Education: An Overview of Neuroscience Research.”
My children are unique and their music is unique. Having teachers that are talented as well as able to teach children with passion and understanding on the theory and practice of music is key to their love for the craft. I’m so grateful to the teachers my boys have to make that possible.
Teachers have a huge influence on whether children love or dislike a subject, music included. The school in which our children take their lessons is listed in the Royal Conservatory of Music Directory. If you are thinking of finding a music teacher in your area, the National Music Teacher Directory is a fantastic and useful tool.
Simply type in your instrument of choice, postal code and maximum distance in kilometers from the lessons, and a list will appear of the teachers in your area (across Canada). The website also gives you suggested questions to ask your potential teacher at a trial lesson. A music teacher and child have to click to make magic happen, so these questions are very helpful.
Lastly, think of a moment in your life where music has not played an integral part in your emotions. I challenge you to find one; it might be hard! In our home, music is our life. It’s woven into all that we do. Since my children were just little, they would hum a tune when they were happy, I would sing them lullabies (still, actually!) and now my children are just about ready to create themselves a little boy band.
I couldn’t be happier to see them develop with music as they grow, knowing that music will help them so much as it has done for me.
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post by the Royal Conservatory in order to create awareness for their directory. All opinions I have for my great love of the study of music are my own.