How Orchestra Encourages Mental Growth in Kids
Tiffany Ash: How Youth Orchestras Promote Mental Growth in Kids
Some of the most profound and life-changing experiences that Tiffany Ash has ever had have always been connected to music, whether it’s collaborating with the Jacksonville Symphony, Florida’s premier orchestra, or making and playing music on her own. For as long as she can remember, music has always been a part of her life; which, in a way, helped shape who she is today mentally and emotionally.
Numerous studies and bodies of research show that playing an instrument or even singing or simply listening to music benefits one’s mental and emotional health. Further, it has been found that learning to play an instrument and playing with an orchestra or symphony enhances a child’s mental development.
Tiffany Ash quotes Deanna Tham, the current Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestras (JSYO) principal conductor:
“Numerous studies show that learning to play an instrument is one of the few activities that forges connections between both sides of our brains, making us more adaptable, better problem solvers and faster, more efficient thinkers… playing a musical instrument throughout one’s life is associated with a lower risk of dementia in later years.”
Deanna Tham adds:
“Students who participate in a musical activity statistically show higher performance and test scores in academic subjects across the board, including math and science. Music triggers physiological plasticity in our brains: it literally makes our brains grow and change.”
In other words, being a student of music isn’t just about playing an instrument or learning techniques to sing better; it’s also about experiencing changes in brain growth and function, and these changes are all positive—benefiting the child.
Further, a study (that span five years) conducted several years ago by the University of Southern California found that “children’s brains develop faster with music training.” For some, learning to play an instrument also provides them peace and solace, especially for those struggling to forge a relationship with classmates and teachers. With music, the “loners” don’t feel so alone anymore.
Another key takeaway from learning to play an instrument or being a part of an orchestra or symphony, especially at a young age, is it helps build your child’s self-confidence while also promoting teamwork. To be able to create music that soothes and moves, each member of the orchestra must learn how to synchronize and harmonize because one note played too early or too late, too quickly or too slowly can ruin the music. One note out of tune can ruin the ensemble.
Stay tuned to Tiffany Ash blog site for more on Jacksonville Symphony, music, and the arts.