Why your child should make music


Music is a universal language and one your child should learn, because of the many benefits, aside from the joy of playing an instrument.

"Learning to play an instrument develops coordination, confidence, self-esteem, persistence, determination, responsibility and a sense of accomplishment," says Aimee Latzke, a Let's Play Music certified teacher. "It also increases focus and attention span, spatial awareness, improves math skills, and helps with literacy and reading skills. And music is a positive outlet for emotional expression, and is quite unique in how it engages both sides of the brain at the same time."

Like learning other languages, young brains more easily soak up music lessons than older ones. Latzke explains that a child's brain is most receptive to learning music between ages 2 to 9, a period called 'The Music Window'.

Even before the age of 2, however, children experiment with music on their own by singing and banging out rhythms with their toys. Two formal instruments that are good firsts are piano and violin, because they provide solid foundations, which are transferable to other instruments.

Latzke agrees and adds, "We start 4 and 5 year olds playing tone bells and autoharp to learn melody and harmony skills, which then transfer nicely to piano."

Her "we" are 300 colleagues throughout the United States and Canada who teach for Let's Play Music (www.letsplaymusicsite.com). "Our curriculum is research based and emphasizes total musicianship through piano playing, singing, classical music, note reading, and ear training...and that's accomplished through play, the way kids learn best!"

The Suzuki method is another effective way to teach young children to play an instrument. Created by a Japanese violinist, it aims to establish an environment for learning music that models the way children learn to speak their native language.

Regardless of how old your child is, what instrument they learn to play or the method by which they learn music, kids learn best when learning is fun.

Latzke recommends, "From the time your child is young, enjoy music together. Listen to a variety of musical styles, sing, dance, explore playing different instruments, attend performances, point out what you heard, ask what they liked. When they are learning an instrument, be interested, involved and encouraging."

After that, let the melodies your budding musician plays become music to your ears.


Lessons and instruments