Do you have a middle school student looking for a new class to take at school? Has your child come home and announced that he or she has joined the orchestra (or band)? Are you wondering what benefits these activities can offer your child?
Children who participate in school orchestras can expect to receive the following perks :
Before you know it, your child will be filling out college or employment applications that will ask about his or her skills and accomplishments. Joining an orchestra gives students an opportunity to develop skills that will not only help them musically, but professionally as well. These valuable qualities include the following:
Team Work— As part of an orchestra, your child will be working with a group of individuals toward a common goal. Everyone in the orchestra must play their part correctly in order for the music to sound right. Just like in a professional environment, if one person fails to pull his or her weight, the whole team suffers. Thus, the orchestra room can be a wonderful training ground for a job in a corporate office.
Working under Pressure— Performing with an orchestra can be stressful. Members of the orchestra strive to play their instruments without mistakes and must overcome stage fright. Through these challenges, orchestra students will be able to build their public presentation skills, improve their work ethic, and overcome shyness.
Discipline—Becoming proficient in music requires dedication and discipline. Daily practice, extra lessons, and advanced classes are necessary to fully master the skill of playing an instrument. Many times, rehearsing is not fun. Scales, theory, and exams can be tedious. Persevering through the hard work to achieve success is a trait that employers look for in employees.
Playing in an orchestra contributes to what is referred to as “common knowledge.” From identifying music that is played in movies, to recognizing particular composers and musical eras, music education adds depth to one’s connections with the world. In addition, members of an orchestra develop a greater appreciation for music as an art form. By learning to play an instrument, students are able to understand the techniques used to create particular sounds and the skills required by musicians to perform them.
Playing an instrument is rewarding and can help build self-esteem, create a sense of accomplishment, and improve the overall mental health of the performer. Because music is therapeutic and can often invoke a sense of peace in the listener, playing an instrument can serve as an effective, healthy escape from the stress of middle and high school. In addition to helping students forge new friendships, music is also a great way to improve one’s brain capacity. Music forms new connections within the brain that can aide in academic pursuits while also giving your student a break from the pressures of school day.
Alternatives to the Orchestra
Convinced of the power of the orchestra? If you want your student to participate in an activity that offers lasting benefits, but your school doesn’t offer orchestra, consider these options:
String Quartet—If your student plays a string instrument, a string quartet is a perfect group to join. Small in size, it allows for more flexibility in performance location and members typically have more influence in the musical selection.
Brass Band—Despite the immense popularity of these groups at Christmas, they have a year-round appeal that allows students to perform a variety of musical styles.
Jazz Band—Similar to a brass band, the jazz band has no set number of members. The musical styles of a jazz band, however, can be difficult for students who are just starting out. Jazz bands typically involve improvisation and creativity that may be intimidating to a new musician.
Encourage your child to join a musical group this year. It will not only aid his or her academic and social development, but it will also provide benefits well into adulthood. If your student has expressed an interest in joining a band or orchestra, helping him or her discover the perfect performance group can be a great way to pass your love of music on to the next generation.