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Why Your Child Needs
– By Eric Dieter
Many of the parents I meet with as a guitar teacher are
simply looking for a hobby to keep their child’s interest. They all have their
reasons for trying the guitar: maybe an uncle played, or their child needs a
creative outlet, or perhaps the young student loves Taylor Swift and wants to
be just like her. Whatever reason parents have for initially signing their
child up, here are some of the hidden benefits of taking guitar lessons.
It is no secret that music comes along with a very rich
lexicon of its own and that it can take years to learn all of the fancy
terminology for sounds. Aside from learning how to assign labels to abstract
concepts, students also must learn how to speak the language. The ability to
build coherent musical ideas is very similar to carrying a coherent
conversation. With the right teacher, guitar students are taught to:
Identify a common theme (main point) within a song
Keep it simple enough for the listener to comprehend
Add enough variation to keep it interesting
Add expression through various techniques
Additionally, various musical concepts are related to the
mood they create. The connection of emotion to music can really help build a
young student’s emotional intelligence.
While a good bit of the musician’s time is spent alone in
the practice room, music is meant to be shared! Rarely have I met a student
that didn’t want to play with others once they built up their confidence.
Performing music with another person is a give and take relationship where you
must learn to compromise on an artistic vision. Students must also learn how to
adapt to changes in timing/speed as their fellow musicians change.
Belonging and Peer
Very often musicians are viewed as “artsy” people, which can
also be slang for aloof and shy. While this assumption isn’t true of musicians
as a whole, students who are more quiet and reserved often thrive in a musical
environment. Playing guitar in a structured environment can be an opportunity
to work out problems independently in the practice room, but is also to shine
in front of their peers. Finding a healthy peer group that focuses on achievement,
such as musicianship and enrichment ,can make significant the difference in a
lot of young lives.
Confidence is essentially the drive that turns “stuff” into
action! When music students have a qualified teacher, they are taught how to
set and meet appropriate goal. Meeting goals continues to reinforce the child’s
sense of self-worth. When improvising and creating, students will learn quickly
that they must forgive themselves for playing a wrong note if they intend to
finish the performance without making additional mistakes. In music, students
learn to take risks and try new creative things. This is especially important
for young ladies, as research suggests that the American female confidence
level actually peeks between the ages of 8 and 12. That doesn’t have to be your
child! Nurture their creative side and build their self-confidence through
Guidance and Mentorship is Crucial
If you find a qualified guitar teacher, you son or daughter
will be in a safe environment where there are no grades. While the student will
be receiving feedback, the act of writing and performing music is filled with
mistakes. When a student has a skilled guitar teacher, these mistakes can be
exciting talking points and can be used to motivate the student to continue to
build his/her skills AND continue to take creative risks. Without proper
guidance, students tend to view mistakes as a blow to self-esteem and may
withdrawal from the instrument altogether. Having a professional guitar teacher
control the flow of information at an appropriate rate while appropriately
challenging them on their current skill set is absolute necessity for anyone
attempting to learn an instrument. Setting the foundation with a great teacher
is a must!
This list of life skills that young students acquire hardly
scratches the surface of the benefits of learning to play guitar. We often hear
about the other benefits of music programs such as how it improves reading and
math skills, but I believe that the true value lies in the experience that
lasts a lifetime.
About the Author
Eric Dieter is a professional guitarist and guitar teacher
in Lancaster, PA. He has appeared on dozens of international albums as a
session guitar player and tours with the synth-pop and prog-rock band. Eric has
studied guitar at Millersville University and Berklee College of Music.
Additionally, he holds a degree in psychology and a certification in hypnosis,
making him uniquely qualified to train the minds and hands of aspiring
musicians. Contact Eric if you are looking for guitar lessons in Lancaster, PA.