Sing a song
Make it simple
To last your whole life long
Don’t worry that it’s not good enough
For anyone else to hear
Sing a song …
— Sing, by The Carpenters
The lyrics from this popular 1970s song encourage children to feel free to express themselves through music. “Music is a fundamental part of the general learning process and should be a part of everyone’s daily routine,” contends Marc Aquila, owner of Crescendo Music in Darien (crescendomusicdarien.com). “Music lessons are important for children as many studies have proven that as a child’s brain grows and matures, music plays a very integral part. It’s been proven that children who study music have better cognitive skills, spatial reasoning, improved math and SAT scores, and are generally more relaxed than children who don’t study music.”
Crescendo provides private music lessons for children for a variety of instruments and provides instrument rental and repair.
“Music opens up other avenues for kids to make social connections with others who share the same passions in life,” Aquila adds.
Two professional musicians and professors at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) in Danbury emphasize that music can greatly enhance a child’s life.
“All the tools you develop to become a good musician can be applied to other interests and passions,” says Andrew Rodgers, who teaches brass courses and offers private lessons. “The teamwork and social aspects of music are also very rewarding. Self-esteem and pride are also by-products of hard work and progress. All these things carry over into the non-musical parts of life. Music is a discipline requiring focus and commitment as the student progresses with the instrument. When a student hears the result of their hard work, the enthusiasm grows.”
Professor Andrew Beals, who teaches Music History & Appreciation and Woodwind Methods at WCSU and is director of the award-winning group Frankensax and teacher at Enchanted Garden Studio of the Arts in Ridgefield and Greenwich Music School, believes to some degree every human has musical ability.
“As a parent and a citizen I want all my children’s abilities and talents to be developed as much as possible to insure their own survival in such an uncertain world, so they can contribute in a meaningful way to their community,” says Beals.
Music fosters self-confidence. “After that first time on stage and you play that last note and the applause erupts from the audience, you get bit by the bug and cannot wait til next time. That gave me the confidence to go on to make a career out of music,” recounts Aquila. “We’ve had students go on to successful music careers such as performers, music teachers, and Grammy nominees. Most students will go on to other careers but will always be able to enjoy their gift of music.”
Rodgers has high standards for his students: “The greater the initial challenge is with a given student, the greater the reward for them—and me as a teacher—when they overcome that particular hurdle. I’ve had students that overcame very fundamental challenges and went on to success at the highest levels.”
Professional musician John Cutrone, who offers private drum lessons and ensemble playing classes for all instruments to children in his Norwalk studio (johncutrone.com), educates his students in critical music concepts.
“Music lessons can really help a creative person learn the tools needed in making music. Students who study privately excel much more than students trying to learn on their own because the teacher is like a personal coach,” he says.
Cutrone uses his vast playing experience and love of music to offer a rewarding experience to students. “Plus, music is important to help the student develop independence and coordination, math skills, and creativity,” he says.
Music is multi-dimensional. “It’s inspirational, informative, and educational,” says Sandra Shaw Murphy, owner of Silvermine School of Music in Norwalk (silverminesom.org). Silvermine offers solo piano lessons and performance workshops for children.
“Music is very important for kids. Some relate to it in a way they don’t relate to academics. There are many children who have an artistic side and music is their outlet. It’s part of their life, even if they become a listening audience rather than a performer,” Murphy says.
Murphy believes taking lessons gives children discipline. “They get a great feeling of satisfaction and self-confidence to make music and perform,” she states. “We’re professional and we put an emphasis on performing, but I try to make music enjoyable and fun. Often when seeing a brother or sister play, siblings get encouraged to play.”
Beals concurs: “The single most important thing about music at all levels, and the only real basic motivation for doing it, is that it’s fun!”