Many parents have experienced hearing a child make screeching noises with a violin as they start to learn their new musical instrument. Often, parents’ patience and tolerance are rewarded as the child learns, and the strange noises turn into real music. Learning to play an instrument can be a great part of a child’s life. For children in foster care, the experience can be amazing. Here are some ways that learning to play a musical instrument can benefit a foster child.
They’ll Do Better in School
Children in foster care often have spotty academic records. Plus, in early childhood they may have missed out on stimulating and enriching experiences, such as being read to and played with by a caregiver, that help to prepare their brains for learning.
Learning a musical instrument helps strengthen connections between different parts of the brain. It improves blood flow to the brain, and enhances memory skills. Learning about beats, scales, and rhythms can improve a child’s math skills. If children learn to read sheet music, it can also help them develop their reading skills.
Their Self-Esteem Will Improve
Children in foster care often have low self-esteem. They may internalize the things that have happened to them. They may not have had many chances to participate in activities that would help them to build healthy self-esteem.
In order to learn to play an instrument, children must accept that they will make mistakes. They have to learn to accept constructive criticism, and see it as a challenge rather than become discouraged by it. As children practice their instrument, they will see their skills improve. This will give them something to be proud of. They may have opportunities to perform for others, which can build their confidence.
They’ll Develop Social Skills
Many children in foster care struggle with social skills. If they didn’t attend school regularly, if they witnessed adults demonstrating negative behaviors, or if survival was a priority for them over developing friendships, they may not know how to handle being part of a group.
Children who participate in group lessons, or who are part of a musical group at school, must learn to work together with others. They’ll also have the benefit of being part of a team. Team members working towards a common goal… making beautiful music… can quickly become friends.
They’ll Be Able to Express Themselves With a Musical Instrument
Children in foster care often harbor a lot of pain, anger, sadness, and confusion. They may struggle to put these feelings into words, and instead express them through negative behavior, or withdrawal.
When children learn to play an instrument, they will eventually come to understand that playing certain songs, or playing in certain ways, can convey different emotions. They can even try writing their own songs to express how they are feeling, without needing to use words.
Learn More About How a Musical Instrument Can Benefit Foster Kids
There are so many ways that children in foster care can benefit from learning a musical instrument. If you have a musical instrument in your home that is no longer being used, consider donating it to a foster care agency. In Texas, you can donate it to TFI Kids Fund. Contact us to find out how to make the donation.