Deciding to be a music teacher was the best decision I have ever made. Little did I know that I was about to embark on a life of continuous learning and joy. Little did I know the profound impact music would have on my life.
As a child, music had a positive impact with me. It helped me with my concentration skills, maths and language and memorising facts. It also improved my ability to problem solve, make new friends and socialise.
Music was helping me regulate my emotions, it was honing my fine motor skills using small and large muscle groups all at the same time. I was immersed in making music. It brought me a lot of joy. Now, as a music teacher, I get to witness the joy and pleasure that music brings. I get to see children unleash their creativity – they relax and unwind and anxiety melts to calm and self-value.
A simple task like singing a song together develops a child’s sense of empathy and encourages deeper bonds. We can all listen to the music at a school concert and appreciate the sounds, we know it is good (mostly).
What we cannot measure is the comradeship, commitment, sense of achievement, pride, self-discipline and how in-tune the orchestra is to each other’s feelings. It is a magical and transformative activity like no other.
Recent research found that the part of the brain linked to musical memory is relatively undamaged by Alzheimer’s. Allowing our children the opportunity to learn a musical instrument is one of the most powerful and positive gifts that we can give as parents and educators. Music is a skill that requires patience, determination and commitment, teamwork and sacrifice. It sets us up for a lifetime of success and builds resilience.
It ultimately prepares us for the very end of our lives when we realise what is truly important.
Maureen Cameron is the Head of Department – Music at St Andrew’s Catholic College, Redlynch