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Want your kids to excel in math? Expose them to music

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Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:22 pm

Is your child struggling in school? Does your child need a self-esteem boost? If your answer is yes to one or both questions, you may want to think about music lessons, according to Lodi area music teachers.

Robin Knutson, of Lodi, who serves as membership chairman of the Music Teachers’ Association of California, said children gain self-esteem when they have something such as music that they can call their own. Music also helps them connect with other people, she said.

“I’ve had students where it really became a part of who they are. It gives them a built-in community group connection with people,” she said.

Dane Burg, pastor of worship arts at First Baptist Church of Lodi, who also teaches piano lessons, said studies have been done that show a child’s exposure to classical music is directly related to success in math.

“It actually helps develop a child’s ability to do complex math problems. Those that are good at music, math comes very naturally to them,” he said.

Burg feels it’s important to expose children to different forms of music, not just the current pop artists of today. There are some children in the upper grades of elementary school that don’t even know what a violin is, he said.

Exposure to music different music groups, such as orchestras, choirs, Broadway shows and other genres such as jazz is important, agrees Knutson. Programs geared toward younger children, such as Kindermusic, would help give them that exposure.

“Courses like that for younger kids will help them know where their interest is in music, whether it’s singing or learning the piano. It’s a well-rounded curriculum and then they can focus on an instrument,” she said.

Piano is a basic instrument that she recommends students should get their start on. It gives them the foundation they need to go on to other instruments. Burg said he will sit down with children before he takes them on as students. If the instrument is not their desire, it will be an uphill battle the entire time. The best thing for parents to do once they find what interests their child, is to help them make time for practicing and then provide that consistency. Schedules need to be flexible enough and not overcrowded to allow enough time. He recommends 15 to 30 minutes a day for beginning students. Time should be scheduled just as it is for a meal time such as lunch. Some students prefer practicing in the morning before school and others practice right after school. It becomes a part of that after school snack-time, he said.

For young children, it doesn’t get rewarding until they have established the habit, added Knutson.

“No matter how gifted a student is, they have to work at it daily,” she said. “If you’re faithful to daily practice, you will find progress.”

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