Why each child should play a musical instrument!

Dear Gaia community

Can you imagine living your life without music? Music is there to soothe us after a stressful day. Music is there to help us cope with challenges that come our way. In fact, music can even open a closed heart. Listening to music and learning to play a musical instrument has many benefits for our children and for us too. It is never too late to start!

Recently I have felt great appreciation for the music education I received as a child. Growing up in a Waldorf home and receiving Waldorf education throughout, I was also lucky enough to play an instrument of my own. When my father started to play the piano when I was in Class 1, I was fascinated and longed to play this beautiful instrument. This is when I started to play the piano; in Class 6 I changed to flute; followed by guitar and singing in high school. In high school, I sang in a choir and still to this day I remember the melodies with so much joy.

The invaluable gift of playing a musical instrument is something I often did not recognize as a child or young adult as I moaned about having to practice so much, about my teachers pushing me too much, about playing together with others and about having to clean my flute after playing it. My parents provided a loving but firm encouragement as an answer to my resistance. I am so grateful that they never gave in and when I did stop playing eventually I had mastered a wealth of skills.

Here are some of the areas that are stimulated by playing a musical instrument:music

Three of the above skills I would like to touch on specifically. The first one is the skill of practice or perhaps I would call it the skill of will. This skill teaches the child to practice something until it has become their own, to organise something and to persevere until a task is completed. It is essential for a child to be able to reach goals in later life. The second one is the skill of social interaction, to be able to care for and give to someone else, for besides academic intelligence surely social intelligence is equally important for our children when they go out into the world. The last one is the skill of clear, independent thinking which is stimulated through reading notes and being able to harmonize and differentiate between the different parts of a music piece; this goes hand in hand with the ability to concentrate and the ability to memorize.

Above all, what I am most grateful for is the joy that music brought me as a child and young adult. And still to this day, even though I do not get the chance to play or sing much for myself, singing or playing a musical instrument still brings me a deep joy, a sense of belonging and enthusiasm for life.  Even though I haven’t played for a while my fingers do not forget, that is the best part!

My wish is for each child at Gaia Waldorf School to have the privilege to play a musical instrument in their primary school time and thus to allow all children to become joyful, responsible, independent and caring human beings.

Kristal Cox-Willemse
Class 5 teacher
071-3529746- For any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.