Sunday, 3 December 2006


We encourage the children to play instruments and sing.

It has been good to see the recent research showing that this develops their brains - but I think parents know that kind of thing intuitively.

The key to making this work is a combination of it being voluntary and compulsory. That is, none of them has to learn an instrument, but if they want to do so, they must practice.

In fact, Ant has both piano and clarinet lessons, Bernie flute and piano, and the little ones both learn the piano.

They all enjoy it, and we rarely have to police practice for the bigger two, though the little ones need frequent reminders.

The contributions I believe this makes are:

- recognising that you achieve through persistent practice
- recognising that once you are committed to something that has implications (ie regular practice!)
- a lot of potential for fun (eg playing duets, singing on long car journeys etc)
- a lot of confidence-building as they reach a decent standard
- interesting ways for the less articulate ones to communicate, and express emotions.
- constructive ways to fill time (people sometimes ask what on earth we do, not having a telly. In fact, we struggle to fit in all the things we and the kids want to do...)

Interestingly they enjoy making music far more than listening to it, and are not really into pop music at all - for which we are duly grateful.

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