The Benefits of Music: Through the Ages, Part 3
Music instruction provides many benefits for us at any age, and this is no different throughout adolescence. By the time a child reaches adolescence, if the child has started to play an instrument and developed the love for music, they are on their way to mastering the skills that come from learning to play an instrument, as well as reaping the benefits for their cognitive development, emotional growth and physical development. (For more details refer to The Benefits of Music: Through the Ages, Part 2.)
Adolescence begins at the onset of puberty, and represents the period of physical, cognitive, social and emotional maturation between childhood and adulthood. The onset of puberty is not determined by age and happens at a different time for each individual. Puberty is marked by dramatic changes in hormone levels and physical appearance. These are severe changes that effect each of us physically and emotionally, and experiencing these changes can be quite difficult at times.
In this time period, adolescence is like walking on thin ice, in the sense that it is an extremely delicate period of emotional growth. The most important aspect of learning to play an instrument for adolescents is the emotional and behavioral development it provides. Given the emotional nature of music itself, playing an instrument provides a healthy medium for adolescents to connect with and express their feelings.
During these formative years, an adolescent is discovering their own identity, and social environment plays a very important role. Music can be a positive influence as it provides another opportunity for healthy socialization. For example, joining the school band or chorus is a great opportunity for an adolescent to experience being part of a group that is working towards a collaborative goal. This helps build self-confidence, pride, and a sense of belonging and purpose which has a positive impact on their self-image, and ultimately, their personal identity.
How many times have you heard someone say, “Music saved me?” During these years, the connection between mind, body, and soul becomes more cohesive. As the brain continues to develop, the body is changing and the personal sense of self is taking shape. Music provides a positive influence for every aspect of life and gives us a medium for expression which fulfills one’s soul.