Learning to play a musical instrument has benefits for students of any age, including adolescents even though they are quite different developmentally from younger children.
By the time they reach adolescence, children who have started to play an instrument and develop a love for music are already beginning to develop the life skills that come with music education. They will have begun to experience the positive impact on their emotional, physical and cognitive development.
(Please see our article, The Benefits of Music Education, Part II (Ages 6-12) for more information.)
Music education at this age can be particularly valuable in helping children cope with the rapid and profound emotional and social maturation that accompanies the onset and progress of puberty.
Adolescence can be like walking on thin ice given how extremely delicate this period of emotional growth is. Playing an instrument can strengthen this growth as students apply themselves with the focus, intensity, and consistency required to learn their instrument.
Given the emotional nature of music itself, playing an instrument provides a healthy medium for adolescents to connect with and express their feelings.
Music is also a positive influence on adolescents as they discover their own identity and find their place in their social environment. Music provides opportunities for healthy socialization, like joining the school band or chorus for example, which allows them to experience being part of a group that is working towards a collaborative goal. This helps build self-confidence, pride, and a sense of belonging and purpose which has a positive impact on their self-image, and ultimately, their personal identity.
These years are critical to our development as adults as the connections between mind, body, and soul become more cohesive. As the brain continues to develop, the body is changing and one’s sense of self is taking shape. Music’s positive impact on habits and skills helps adolescents channel their growth and provides a fulfilling avenue for self expression.