The theme of this year's 2021 Children’s Mental Health Week is to encourage more and more young people to ‘Express Yourself’ - backed by the Duchess of Cambridge and countless other TV personalities and celebrity names, more and more parents and children across the country have been turning inwards and discovering new ways of expressing themselves to help their mental health and general wellbeing.
Today, we wanted to give our input and explore the ways we feel music can be a fantastic way to allow children to express themselves - but whether you express yourself through painting, dancing, knitting or anything in between, there are plenty of fantastic avenues to explore.
How can music impact your mental health?
Music helps people in a million different ways - From a passive listening perspective, music allows you to transcend reality. For that short moment, you can let go of your worries and troubles and indulge in a sound that suits your mood - sometimes even listening to something angry or loud can give you that emotional release you’ve been looking for or needed! On the other hand, music can help calm and soothe you as you are surrounded by sweet harmonies and melodies.
This of course does not just apply for children’s mental health and music has an incredible ability to help people of all ages. Just as important as child mental health is, parental mental health continues to also suffer, especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout our lockdown stories series, one common theme we found was how parents and teachers are still utilising music as a way to feel connected with their families, remove their worries and express themselves in a way that few other outlets can achieve.
Secondly, and perhaps the other most obvious way that music can impact your mental health is by playing it for yourself!
Music offers children limitless experimentation and expression as no two songs or tunes are ever the same and everyone’s learning experience when beginning an instrument differs. We provide a whole host of both starter pianos for children and adults to get involved with - if you are not sure the piano is right for you but want to give it a try, no problem! That’s exactly what our rental scheme is for! For more information on renting an instrument, click here.
When it comes to learning an instrument, there are a countless ways that music can benefit both your child’s academic life and mental health - To list just a few:
- It gives your brain a workout - Being an active participatory task, when you’re learning or playing music, your brain is always on the go! Playing music, particularly the piano, sends off multiple synapses throughout your brain as the left and right side work together to allow your hands, feet and ears to work in sync with one another. This is especially powerful in children as it helps them understand incredibly complex learning experiences and master hand-eye coordination from a young age. More and more studies have shown that children who learn music tend to perform better academically.
Too much work, not enough play - Whilst music does help children academically, the effect on the brain is often the opposite when playing music for fun. More and more pressure is being placed on children from younger ages to succeed academically via extensive testing and constant goal reaching. Music gives children a change to explore learning in a fun and exciting way that feels far more akin to playing. The experience of pressing a key, hearing a sound and then experimenting with their own compositions and musical desires is an incredibly rewarding and satisfying feeling that gives a real sense of self worth and achievement.
Make new friends - Music also helps give children an incredible social network and support bubble of like-minded people who understand them and that they have things in common with. Music can be a way to meet new, like-minded people – playing in a band, orchestra or a choir – can be a great way to make new friends and socialise.
Read more on how music helps children develop here!
In fact, more and more cinema and pop culture seems to be encouraging this message of self expression and utilising tools such as music to find an escape - read our review of how Disney Pixar’s Soul is doing exactly this!
What other resources are out there?
The best part about music is that no matter how inspired you feel, there are always ways to dip in and out as you please. For those who perhaps just want to utilise music as a way to assist their mental health, music therapy is becoming an increasingly popular medium.
Music therapy offers a calm and non-threatening medium for young people to explore their thoughts and feelings and begin to understand emotions in a new way. From hearing how tonal differences impact the brain to seeing why certain lyrics resonate with them, music therapy gives young people and teenagers an outlet to express their emotions verbally, and relate to their emotions.
So there you have it, just a few reasons why we feel music is a powerful and explorative tool that more and more people should get involved with for helping their own mental health! If you would like more help finding the perfect instrument for you, speak to our experts today!