Numerous studies show that children gain all kinds of benefits from learning to play a musical instrument. Beyond the benefit of simply being able to make music, they open pathways in their brains that help in other subjects such as math and language, not to mention what they learn about persisting in a goal.
In the last week, an article in The Telegraph quoted Nicola Benedetti as saying that while all children should learn music in school, "I question how realistic it is to try to impose en masse the discipline and perseverance of learning an instrument."
Of course, Benedetti has strongly advocated for music in the schools, especially in the U.K., and she has worked to make it happen. But this appears to be a stepping back from calling for "a universal right to learn an instrument that protects parents from any costs," which she and a group of former winners of the BBC Young Musician prize had called for in a letter published in 2018 in The Guardian They also wrote that "it is crucial to restore music's rightful place in children's lives, not only with all the clear social and educational benefits, but showing them the joy of making and sharing music."
I probably would not be a violinist today, if my public school had not started me on the violin and supported my early efforts. Of course, I was lucky to have continued support from my parents, allowing me to take private lessons, once it was clear that I was inclined to be a musician.
I feel this raises several questions: How important is instrumental music, in a child's general education? And to what degree should it be publicly supported? Also, is it truly possible for every child to learn a musical instrument? Suzuki certainly thought that "every child can," when given the right opportunity and support.
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