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Music Gives Life to Everything

In a place like Ambrose Treacy College that offers so many outstanding opportunities, students and parents while generally excited by the prospect of becoming a part of the music program often ask a simple, really important question; ‘Why learn a musical instrument?’

As the new school year begins and we welcome new and the familiar students and their families to the College, one of our most crucial roles as music educators is to inspire and educate these new students and their parents about music and more specifically the value in playing a musical instrument.

There are so many ways for students to spend their spare time so what is it about learning an instrument that makes it so popular and such a crucial part of so many schools? Time and time again, music educators see the correlation between the students who learn an instrument and the students who excel academically.

I, of course, am a great advocate for learning a musical instrument. Playing an instrument has led me to a career in music that has afforded me opportunities I couldn’t have believed possible – performances in front of enormous audiences, touring the world, living in some of the biggest cities of the world and having the privilege of seeing so many young people gain so much joy from making music during my many years of teaching.

Before coming up with an answer to the most common question posed by parents, I decided to do the sensible thing and turn to Google. None of the results surprised me and may not surprise you either!

Why play a musical instrument?

There is a wealth of research and information available on the interweb and I would encourage you to read more from the Shankar Mahadevan Academy’s blog and the excellent article on the Classic FM site on reasons to play a musical instrument.

10 ways Music helps your son academically (these are proven facts!)

1. Increases the capacity of your memory
2. Refines your time management and organisational skills
3. Boosts your team skills
4. Teaches you perseverance
5. Enhances your coordination
6. Betters your mathematical ability
7. Improves your reading and comprehension skills
8. Exposes you to cultural history
9. Sharpens your concentration
10. Boosts your listening skills

All of these concepts are proven through observation and research, which is summed up nicely in the following video from Anita Collins on how playing a musical instrument benefits your brain.

I have observed and firmly believe that playing an instrument offers all of these fantastic benefits. Over the years I have seen young people do things that they never thought possible. I have seen students gain confidence that has allowed them to excel in all facets of life and I have seen students go on to pursue fantastic careers in music. Perhaps one of the most enjoyable parts of playing an instrument at ATC is that feeling of ‘being part of something bigger”.’ To play in a band or ensemble is to be part of a team where everyone plays their uniquely important role with the common goal of achieving something great.

Without music, life would be a mistake.’ ― Friedrich Nietzsche

If you are interested in starting an instrument for the first time or want to come back to one you haven’t played for a while please click here to email the ATC Musos!

Jonathon Bolt
Head of Co-curricular Music Performance