By Cynthia Meyering
All alone… it’s one of the primal fears we have for ourselves, and one that we try to protect our children from experiencing. After observing children for many decades, I have come to find common themes in their behaviors that are worrisome; and others that are simply goofy kid stuff. But the one behavior that scares many adults is when a child is “a loner.” We try to find the cause, looking at sensory issues, learning disorders and impulsivity and as well as social ills such as bullying and problems with self-confidence. The fact that these behaviors come and go during different natural stages of child development makes it harder to determine if “this too shall pass ” for a child. I have found, however, that giving a child something to do often opens the unique skills sets that have been dormant. Children have an incredible capacity to sprout in good soil, and I have found that music is the right kind of earth to plant a talent.
Articles abound with the successes of music therapy to heal and integrate neurological functions of the brain. Dance and other tempo driven activities not only improve flexibility and coordination, but the deliberate muscle movement connected with repeated rhythms has been known to decrease ADHD types of disorders as it strengthens whole body focus. Learning an instrument can increase the self-confidence of a child who struggles with verbal reading, as they can show innate competence and skill learning to read music.
The child who presents as a loner may be marching to the beat of a different drum. I have heard numerous adults tell me they wish they had to courage to play and instrument or sing or write a song; as music inspires us to join with others and not isolate. On several occasions managers of local bands and music programs have readily testified that “Band saved me” touting how getting into music during one of those difficult developmental ages gave him something to do that sprouted a successful direction for his life.
Denton County has good earth for the many crops across our cities and towns. Our reputation for growing music talent continues to produce performers, songwriters, and music programs that garner world attention. For those wanting to learn an instrument, the Denton area offers many music schools, academies and private lessons instructors that can best access your child’s style of learning.
There are some musicians that learn to read music in a snap! There are others who learn by ear and can pluck out a tune after hearing it played once. In addition, Denton County boasts many school districts with music programs that are state and nationally recognized for excellence; and are devoted to offering students ample opportunity to join the sound wave that composes our community.
So, put a set of drumsticks, a guitar pick, something in their hands that can connect them to the one-to-one attention of a music instructor. Listen to them play and then take the risk to learn an instrument yourself! Hold a mandolin and see if it fits in your hand and join in the adventure. Open your voice and see what song is released from you. March to the beat of that different drummer and notice how many others are out there just like you.
Cynthia Meyering, LMFT is a marriage and family therapist in Denton.