These are stressful times...unprecedented...uncharted… You have heard these terms ad nauseum in the past several months. We have been forced to learn more technology than ever before-as students, teachers, parents, and families. We are living through a pandemic and social unrest. We have been separated from friends and family. Our normal way of life has been put on hold
Here you are, at the beginning of a new school year, starting music lessons in the midst of the chaos; adding more to your already overflowing plates.
Why did you decide that this was a good idea?
I submit to you that you know something on a deep and visceral level. You understand that across cultures and across eras, music is the thing that connects all of humanity. You understand that in all times, but especially during difficult times, music practice is self-care.
To be sure, it is not to be taken lightly; to get good at anything, one must put forth effort and dedicate time to the study of an instrument. But, the creative process in general and music study specifically, affects our brains and our whole being. “Music”, as Oliver Sacks writes in Musicophillia: Tales of Music and the Brain, “is part of being human.”
Certainly listening to music for the purpose of affecting or reflecting our mood is not a groundbreaking idea. However, learning a musical instrument can be even more beneficial than passively consuming music. In addition to increasing cognitive functioning, memory, and focus, learning an instrument, increases dopamine, the “feel good” hormone. And couldn’t we all use more of that these days?
So, when it is time to practice your instrument each day, don’t think of it as yet another duty to check off your to-do list. Instead, recognize it as a gift to yourself. Taking moments out of each day to tap into that which connects us to all of humanity is the highest form of self-care. In a time when connection may seem hard to achieve, let music be the glue that connects you to our human family.
Take good care.
Williams, Amanda. (August 20, 2018) Stop. Pause. Play-Using Music for Self-Care. https://www.tendacademy.ca/using-music-self-care/