Development of children – What does a child get by enrolling in a Music School?

Our music school is the leader in the city in terms of professional and motivated staff. We also stand out with the fact that our students have a 100% performance when taking the ABRSM international British exams. Our students achieve excellent results in exams.

However, passing the exams and the results on them are often not the main driver for enrolling in the Music School for some families. Why then do those families still decide to enroll their child in the Music School? What does the child get by enrolling in this vocational school and what are the benefits?

These questions are answered in the following text by Vesna Radić, co-owner of our Music School “Eva” and piano teacher.

Why is music school important for a child’s development?

The music school, in today’s time, which is full of many fast stimuli that have an unfavorable effect on the children’s brain, brings a touch of tradition and the spirit of true values. If, for example, we were to compare the Music School with gastronomy, on the one hand various fast stimulations would be “fast food” and the Music School, on the other hand, “slow food”.

For hundreds of years, learning to play a musical instrument has not changed significantly. The textbooks have changed, and the most important thing – the teacher’s approach and methodology. But fundamentally, learning to play a musical instrument has remained unchanged. It is slow intellectual and emotional developmental stimulation. Which is why it is beneficial for every child.

Does what you said excatly apply to every child or are you only talking about children who ae talented in music?

Personally, I don’t prefer the term “musical talent”. Talent is a word that denotes a very broad concept and contains many components. In the end, for doing art and playing music, talent is crucial, but without hard work, dedication and maturity, you won’t get results.

Here we come to the key difference in the methodology and program of Eastern and Western approaches to learning to play a musical instrument.

The eastern approach, to which Serbia, as a country with our national system in public schools, belongs, addresses precisely the gifted, as people like to call “talented” children. That’s why when enrolling in music schools, that talent, that is, musical abilities, is checked. We try to determine how developed the child’s hearing, sense of rhythm, meter and music in general is.

The Western approach addresses to all children. This is why we come to the data that, for example, 70% of children in England play or have played a musical instrument for at least a few years, while in Serbia that percentage is only 5-6%.

My experience of 15 years in piano teaching speaks in favor of the Western approach, which is why we have just decided to work according to the ABRSM international program in our Music School. This program does not have solfeggio as a separate subject and the compositions covered are very receptive to children.

Every child can play a musical instrument. And to master at least the basics. And he enjoys this artistic oasis.

What does every child who plays a musical instrument get?

It is known that playing a musical instrument alone stimulates both hemispheres of the brain. As we play, the hemispheres work at the same time and the bridge between them is awakened. This video captures it brilliantly:  How playing an instrument benefits your brain .

Due to this specific development, it is not surprising that people who played a musical instrument in their youth later more easily tolerate what we now modern call “multitasking”. Or to put it more simply – they can more easily tolerate doing several things at the same time. They had good training in their youth.

Also, when I talk to doctors on this topic, and especially to surgeons, those who played a musical instrument during their childhood are very grateful to music and the Music School. They claim that the laparoscope is a very simple instrument after the piano. 😊

So, everyone can play a musical inswtrument? How?

Easy. The first 3 years of learning a musical instrument involve learning musical basics. In practice, this means learning musical notation systems, musical notes, musical clefs and most importantly – basic musical rhythms. Learning more complex music and more complex rhythms comes most often during the fourth year of learning to play a musical instrument. And of course, later during the secondary music school or Music Academy.

Every child can learn the basics. He needs the right external motivation, the right plan and program, and a wonderful teacher to round it all off. Of course, without patient parents, nothing. I strongly emphasize that holy trinity as the key to success in every child’s education: child, teacher and parent.

What happens in a child development during those first 3 years of learning?

The child develops completely. Both physically and intellectually. Physically, the child is exposed to fine motor skills. Every instrument requires the child to learn to produce music by moving the holes, strings or other parts of the instrument with his fingers. Then, the child develops intellectually. Learning a musical instrument is similar to learning a foreign language. A completely new language for each child. Which, unlike foreign languages, is the same throughout the world. Therefore, all musicians of the world note read in the same way.

What I personally like the most in children’s development when it comes to coming to the Music School is emotional development, more precisely emotional maturation.

Just like when a child learns to sit, crawl, walk, eat or speak, it never succeeds the first time, but through many mistakes and attempts and finally experiences a triumph, so learning to play a musical instrument looks identical. Here we come to the point. A child learns to sit, walk, eat and speak by the age of three, and that learning remains behind him, he forgets it. And with that, he forgets the feeling of frustration when something fails on the first try.

In the Music School, he encounters this pattern again. Something didn’t work the first time. For something that a child really wants to learn, he has to make an effort several times. And even if I try again and again, it might not work. What does this remind you of? For life. Yes. Just for life. Is there a better training ground for development than the Music School or not?

This might sound a bit negative to some, but it’s actually not like that. This whole process takes place in a positive atmosphere. There is the child’s instrument teacher who expertly guides them through this process. And in the end, after the triumph, after overcoming the obstacles, the child feels great satisfaction. His confidence soars. And this is something that it carries throughout its life.

Is there anything else you would like to add at the end?

Yes. I would be very happy to talk about the instrument teacher as a third parent. At least that’s how I perceived my piano teachers. Just like third parents. And I believe that their expertise, love, commitment and suggestions about my overall development and my parents meant a lot in their parenting journey.

Musical instrument lessons take place one-on-one; the child is alone with the teacher in class. The teacher’s attention and dedication is focused on one student only. This, in addition to a clear plan and program as well as methodology, gives us the freedom to approach each child in a unique way. And to make an effort to find the best pedagogical approach for each child, in order to motivate him as best as possible.

Finally, the Music School is an oasis. The child is exposed to quality music. He meets children with similar sensibilities. And it has its own oasis of peace from today’s speed and noise.