Music can have a powerful effect on us as human beings, but that effect can be especially powerful and transformative in young adults and children. Learning piano is something that takes time, memorization, and dedication; something not all young people or children may have, but taking piano lessons and practicing daily can home these skills and affect children’s performance in school and beyond in a positive way.
When a child or young adult plays a musical instrument, they develop essential brain functions that also enhance both academic and social skills. One Canadian study looking at groups of six-year-old students concluded that after just nine months of weekly training on the piano, students’ IQ rose nearly three points more than their untrained peers. When students learn to translate musical symbols into sound and learn to understand music, these skills transfer to other abilities because they share similar neuro-pathways. For this reason children who play music also excel academically, specifically in math and science, as practicing music also exercises parts of the brain used in spatial intelligence (the ability to think through a 3-D puzzle, for example). Other benefits to the brain include a nourishing process of learning overall (critical thinking skills, motor skills, attention spans, etc.), engagement of left and right brain functions, improvement of memory, and building and strengthening of connections between brain cells. Children and young adults also express greater ease when it comes to expressing emotion.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, approximately three to seven percent of school-age children have ADHD; while one in 20 U.S. children experience ADHD symptoms. Focusing in school is a task many children and young adults struggle with, but learning and playing the piano can help young people to stay focused and better achieve their goals. Learning anything new takes both patience and diligence, but this is especially true when learning an instrument like the piano which requires memorization and daily practice. With so many children moving to video games and smart phones for entertainment, some children may feel “left out” taking piano lessons in their spare time but taking music lessons, specifically piano lessons, can be fun though with new apps and programs that are free and engaging to children and young adults. While formal lessons from a professional should be considered, children can use apps and programs like games that are educational, engaging and entertaining, perfect for children suffering from ADHD or related disorders.
There’s a reason why a reported 75 percent of CEOs in Silicon Valley took music lessons as children. Music lessons help to preserve and develop a child’s natural creative ability, while also building self-confidence and self-esteem and courage to try new things. Research also reveals that trained musicians think differently than other people, using more effectively a creative technique called “divergent thinking” (the ability to come up with new solutions to open-ended questions), and using multiple parts of their brains, both sides and their frontal cortex, more than the average person. The key here is problem solving. When it comes to day-to-day creativity, those who are musically trained are more successful in problem solving academically and otherwise, making these individuals more confident in their abilities and giving them the ability to think deeper and more in-depth overall. On the other hand, non-musical people tend to favor certain areas of the brain, accessing less information from a smaller variety of regions.
If you are interested in getting your child or young adult involved in music, piano lessons are an ideal starting point because of the fundamental structure of the chords, scales, harmonic and rhythmic patterns, all laid out in a horizontal row. Piano also requires less coordination between both hands early on, unlike other instruments that require both to even make sound. Piano is also a great starting point for children of all ages. Typically, if a child is successful at piano, they have a greater chance of moving on to other instruments and experiencing similar success with a foundational understanding of music.]]>
In case you are wondering why kids love art more than language or mathematics, you are not alone. Math and language have a set of rules that needs to be followed, otherwise you would not get to the answer or you will have a wrong form. Aside from that, here are the reasons why children like arts so much.
First, arts have no rules. Unlike language, arts do not follow a particular form or syntax for it to become acceptable. The only fuel that you need to have is expression, talent and perseverance and of course the materials that you will need. You have no one to tell what you do as long as you express yourself and your creativity. Kids don’t like to follow rules and this is one reason why they like arts more than other subjects
Arts have no right and wrong. You can’t say that an artist is better because he draws real persons compared to another artist who draws abstract art. Every artist is unique and has his own style. This is true to the children as well. They have different ways of expressing themselves. They can be good in expressing themselves through painting or maybe by creating collage. Each child is unique and there is no way you can say that one is superior to another.
By appreciating diversity, children who excel in arts gain confidence in themselves especially if their works are appreciated. Instead of discouraging them, support them in their interest and they might carry their enthusiasm to other subjects like mathematics and languages.]]>
There are many art activities that your kids can do. Here are some examples of art activities that are easy to do yet bring out the artist in them.
This is a good activity during the fall season because you can see a lot of leaves and flowers falling to the ground. In this activity, you need a lot of flowers and watercolor paint and of course the paper which will serve as canvass for this activity. The procedure is rather simple. They take a flower and dip it into watercolor paint and try to print it on the paper. They can do the same step over and over again. They can use other flowers in different colors and print it again to create beautiful artworks.
This is a variation of flower printing but only this time; fruits are used instead of flowers. To create different patterns you can cut a fruit into half or into quarters. You then dip the fruits in watercolor paint and paste a pattern in the paper. Different shapes can be dipped into different colors. Some of the fruits commonly used in this activity include pears, apples, tomatoes or any other fruit that won’t be squished when you apply pressure on the watercolor paper.
These are only some of the activities that the kids can do at school or even at home. Expect the kids to get dirty so make sure they wore their working clothes when they participate in these activities.]]>
It is good to let the kids experience art because they can truly express themselves when they are immersed in the activity. Art has no right or wrong because it is just an expression of oneself. If you see that your kids are good in artworks, you might as well encourage them to make artworks or better yet to allow them to participate in art activities. Here are some art ideas that will bring out the best in them.
From the name itself, it is painting using strings. You just need a watercolor paper or any paper then pieces of string. You also need to prepare watercolors to start your artwork. To do this art activity, you just need to dip a string in watercolor and let it run along the watercolor paper. You can do a swirling motion or any random movement of the string. You can dip another string in a different color and let it run over the previous one to create a more dazzling effect. This is surely a fun activity to participate in.
Grape and toothpick sculpture
In this activity, you just need to grapes and toothpicks. The activity combines food and art so it will surely become a hit to kids. Kids just need to form different shapes where the grapes serve as a connector to the toothpicks. They can make different shapes including houses, cubes, pyramids and countless other shapes that they can think of. They will surely have fun doing this activity.]]>
Kids usually come back from school dirty and their uniforms smeared with paint. Yet even if they look dirty, you can see from their smiles that they had a good time at school. Oh yeah, you remember now that it was their art day in school and they surely enjoyed doing their artwork. You can’t help but wonder what it is with arts that make children happy.
First, arts have no rules. There may be guidelines on how to design your painting or how to do your frame but when you take that away, you are actually left on your own. You have the freedom to do anything. You are allowed to bring out your creativity. Kids also love freedom and they can become themselves when they are asked to do their own artwork.
Next, children love to do anything where they are involved. They will be happy of course to learn from the teacher what is the paintbrush and how will it make a beautiful artwork. They are happy to know what a canvass is and how it becomes a medium where art pieces are painted on. More than that, they are happy when they get their hands dirty, use the paintbrush to draw lines on the canvass and how they turned the white canvass full with lines and different colors.
These are only some of the reasons why your children love art. Of course, as parents, you may be tempted to scold them because they are dirty, but when you see that they are happy, you can’t be happier yourself.]]>
Some of the popular subjects that our children like include Literature, Language, History, Geography and Science. These subjects are very nice subjects. In fact, not all students excel in this subject and you should be proud when your kids say that these are their favorite subjects. You can also teach them how to appreciate art by doing the following.
First, you can visit many art museums. These museums are filled with countless beautiful art pieces and your kids who are into art would surely appreciate your gesture. You can even include exhibits and museums during your different trips so your children would become interested in art. Once they get inspired by great artists they will start working on their own artworks.
Encourage them instead of discouraging them. They might show you works that may not look nice at first but instead of telling them to stop, encourage them so they’ll continue creating more. As they create more artworks they will develop their skills and after a long while they will create masterpieces on their own. At their first step, encouragement is always the key.
Lastly, don’t hesitate to buy them the materials that they need. They might need a brush or a water color set. Buy whatever they need so there will be no stopping on the pursuit of their dreams. Remember that you can always buy the materials anytime but you can never bring their passion again. Support them while they still have their passion for creating art.]]>
If you wish to introduce your kids to the wonders of museums, then here are important things you need to know:
Visit The Museum’s Website – Know the basics and the nuts and bolts of the museums you wish to visit by visiting their website first. Know the rules and guidelines and come ready.
Choose the Affordable Options – Keep the trips from being expensive by choosing affordable museums. Also, some museums offer promos for family and even give free admission to kids at particular days of the week, or hours of the day.
Expand your Idea of Museum – Museums aren’t simply vast places with paintings hanging on the walls. Develop your idea of a modern museum by exposing your kids to colorful museums. There are outdoor gardens with sculptures that are considered museums, the best of this is you’ll be less worried of your kids making noise.
Do Your Homework and Familiarize the Basics of the Museum – know the basics and advanced features of the museum along with its collection, this will help you introduce the wonderful things to your kids. You can visit the museum’s website and let your child browse with you to know more about the things inside the museum and what to expect.
Know Your Kids’ Language – Older kids find museums boring, especially if they know it’s an educational trip. Know what they want and try to choose the best available option that fits to it. If they love pop-culture, then take them to a museum that will interest them most.]]>
Via: Everyday Family
With times what they are, many of us are looking for ways to help make ends meet. Here are 5 easy ways to jump start that process for you.
There are so many options for this type of business; you simply need to choose the kind of business you would like to run – cooking products, jewelry, health or beauty products, etc.
The flexible schedule and product benefits are often a big draw for people. Make sure they are part of the Direct Selling Association and that you feel good about the products you are promoting.
One business, XANGO (www.xango.com) sells wellness products including mangosteen beverages, nutrition supplements and personal care products. They have over 30 international markets so it’s a business that can be run all over the world.
Check out www.directselling411.com for more information about direct selling opportunities.
Start Freelancing or E-Lancing
This is where you can put your skills to work during your extra time. There are tons of sites out there that help you sell your abilities including www.guru.com, www.odesk.com and www.elance.com to help you find clients and promote your skills.
Be a Tutor
You can use your skills in language, math or computers to help a young person enhance their own skills or help an adult learn a skill they don’t know like sewing, music or art – get creative!
Do Something You Love
If you love to cook, start a catering business or become a personal chef. If you are handy in crafts, make jewelry to sell at craft shows or you can sell it online through any of these places: www.etsy.com, www.amazon.com and www.google.com/checkout.
An Extra Set of Hands
If you have time, you can help out with someone’s yardwork, handyman work , housekeeping or personal shopping. Maybe you can run errands for seniors or walk dogs for working folks. Print up some business cards and work your network of friends to help you get started.
The main thing is to think creatively about what you know and who you know and figure out how to put these two groups together into something profitable. Good luck!
It’s a topic that’s in the news all the time these days – kids getting bullied and feeling helpless to do anything.
Four New York teens decided to take matters into their own hands to help raise awareness about bullying and its effects on teens.
Radio Silence formed last summer and includes Zach, the lead singer and guitar player, Dylan on guitar, Tim on bass and guitar and Wyatt on the drums. Their first single “Renegade” came out in November, 2010 and it is making a big impact.
In a partnership with www.DoSomething.org, an organization dedicated to organizing teens for social causes (that also happens to have a super-star board of directors), the 16-year-olds will embark on a 20-school tri-state area tour this spring to perform their song during an assembly about bullying.
While the band didn’t form to sing solely about bullying, their first song certainly works well for this cause. In an interview with Family First, Zach explained that the band members were brainstorming about song ideas last summer. He says they all sat down in a room and wrote down what they like and what they don’t like.
All of them wrote down “Haters” as something they all dislike. A hater, according to Zach, is someone who is negative about everything, who “hates on everything for no reason,” he says. Bullies can fall into this category since they are mean and usually there’s no obvious reason why they’re picking on kids.
While writing the song, the bandmates were thinking a lot about the tragic case of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers freshman who committed suicide last year after classmates cyber-bullied him. “We’re calling you out…Hatred is the enemy,” is the refrain in the song. That fits that situation, for sure.
Zach says it is hard for teens to stand up against bullying. “It takes inner strength deep inside to realize what’s right. It’s admirable,” he says. Many times, kids won’t stand up because they’ll get judged and people will think they’re “lame,” he says.
Through their music and the assemblies with DoSomething, the band hopes to help make standing up and speaking out more acceptable to kids so they can help each other against bullies.
Besides the bullying tour, Zach says the boys are working on a full album together. The musical influences they site include Blink 182, Nirvana and Green Day, as well as legendary guitar players Eric Clapton, Duane Allman and Jimi Hendrix. All the boys attend the Professional Children’s School in New York City, which allows them to attend school as well as tour.
Learn more about these rising stars at www.radiosilencenyc.com.]]>