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Students Benefit from Playing Musical Instruments

While musicians often create beautiful sounds for our ears, they are also benefiting an important part of their own bodies: their brains.

Brain Development and Memory
Research has shown that not only does playing a musical instrument increase blood flow in your brain, which can help an individual in need of energy, but it also contributes to an increase in brain development and long-term memory abilities. Playing a musical instrument requires the student to employ a high-working memory load, which helps to expand his or her working memory capacity. This, in turn, also leads to improvements in cognitive abilities.

Further research conducted by the University of Geneva’s Ewa A. Miendlarzewska, Ph.D. and Reha Rheinfelden neuropsychologist Wiebke J. Trost, Ph.D. supports the notion of the regular practice of music aiding in intellectual development by creating a foundation for a variety of different skills. Students’ cognitive functions benefit in a number of ways as a result of playing musical instruments, particularly through improved listening and linguistic skills. By developing abilities to identify minor pitch differences, children are able to obtain more accurate processing of speech and voices. This also leads to higher verbal and reading abilities, as indicated by the higher vocabulary subtest scores on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-III) by those children with musical training.

One study conducted by Harvard neurologist Gottfried Schlaug and a number of his colleagues found that, after only 15 months of practicing with musical instruments, students in the early childhood stage of life showed structural brain changes related to improvements in various motor and auditory skills. The earlier children began using musical instruments, the more adept they became in their later formative years.

Stress Relief
Music often helps people to relax and calm down after a hectic day, and many students listen to music while completing homework assignments on their own. According to Dr. Daniel J. Levitin and Mona Lisa Chanda of McGill University, both listening to and playing music helps to lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.

Focusing on the music needed to be played, students are able to forget about the anxieties and stresses of their daily lives and simply play. Both the task of creating the music and the music being heard are able to produce calming effects on the students.

Fostering of Self-Expression and Socialization
It can sometimes be difficult for children to find ways to express themselves, especially if they are typically more reserved. Music, though, is like art in that students are able to practice a bit of creativity — especially when composing their own unique pieces — and they have opportunities to play with emotion.

Additionally, children are able to become more involved in collective groups with their peers, such as the school band or orchestra. Because of the numerous hours of practice, events, competitions, and trips, many students form friendships with peers who become more like family. What began as a common bond of the enjoyment of creating music turns into much more meaningful relationships.

Regardless of whether or not a student decides to passionately pursue music or enjoy it as more of a casual hobby, the benefits are worth the time and effort put into learning how to create wonderful melodies for all to hear.

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Shelby Wagner - 1st Grade Teacher Fairmont Historic AnaheimTop Teacher & Skating Champion
Shelby “My favorite part of being a teacher is the children I get to teach.”
  • Is one of the head teachers for the Fountain Valley Artistic Skating Club, teaching regional and national champions. She also teaches beginner classes every Saturday morning.
  • Every year, her students are amazed to find that their teacher has a life outside of the classroom.
“I love feeling like I’m part of a family [at Fairmont].”
Keira Kamath - 5th Grade Fairmont Anaheim HillsScience & Tennis Superstar
keira “I like how there are so many different specialty classes at Fairmont Anaheim Hills, like art, music, PE, science lab, computer lab, and Spanish.”
  • She would like to be a professional tennis player when she grows up, or maybe a doctor.
  • Loves dance and plays the piano
  • Her favorite class is science “because you get to figure out stuff, and I like to do experiments.”
Nicholas Aghaian - 7th Grade Fairmont Historic AnaheimKicking His Way to Med School
nicolas“The teachers and the amount of support they provide to not only me, but to the whole entire community here at Fairmont is probably what I like most about attending Fairmont Historic Anaheim.”
  • He would like to be a professional soccer player, or a doctor specializing in the field of sports medicine.
  • Enjoys basketball, piano, and soccer pitch.
  • His favorite subject is math “because I like to be challenged, and math is full of challenges.”
Gianluca De Gregoris – 2nd Grade Fairmont North TustinDancing Toward Greatness
dancing"What I like most about Fairmont is that I get to learn and meet new friends.”
  • He wants to be a professional dancer when he grows up.
  • Is trained in ballet and ballroom dancing.
  • Loves writing and creating new stories.
Nicole Heyman - Kindergarten Teacher Fairmont Anaheim HillsLaying a Foundation for Lifelong Learning
Nicole "The best part about teaching at Fairmont is being able to work with a diverse group of students who are all incredibly talented. It is amazing to be able to challenge students at such a young age and watch these children grow throughout the year.”
  • Loves camping, reading, and traveling
  • Her students love learning random things about her – like the fact that when she was in kindergarten she wanted to be Spiderman when she grew up.
  • Her proudest moments are the times when a student on campus is excited to see her, oftentimes telling her that she’s “the best teacher in the world.” “I live for those moments.”
“I choose to teach at Fairmont because of the sense of community, as well as the drive for our students to succeed.”
DJ Clovis - Music Teacher Fairmont North TustinRunning to the Rhythm
DJ Clovis “I get to work with amazing staff, faculty, parents, and most importantly, students!”
  • Teaches music to all grades — from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Coaches (or has coached) football, basketball, and Run Club
  • Plays bass trombone
  • NJHS Conflict Resolution Coach
  • He has run 15 marathons and 4 ultra marathons.
“The best part of teaching at Fairmont is the autonomy — being able to create a program that fits all of my students. At Fairmont North Tustin, I get to help with a lot of different activities.”