Beat of a different drum

Guest Writer; Cindy Meyering

Loneliness. 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 and mental functioning. 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 the courage to play an 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" and touting how getting into music during one of those difficult developmental ages gave them something to do and that sprouted a successful direction for their life.

Denton County has good earth for the many crops across our cities and towns. Our reputation for growing musical talent continues to produce performers, songwriters, and music programs that garner world attention. 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. Local examples include Northwest ISD who has achieved recognition as Best in Community Music Education for the 11thconsecutive year! And the music program at Argyle ISD has produced medal-winning champions year after year and shows no signs of slowing down.

For those wanting to learn an instrument, our area schools excel within the many public education music programs offered to all ages. Local school districts are a good starting point as you look for ways to introduce music to your child. They provide budding musicians with opportunities starting at the elementary age level and can find a way to get instruments into the hands of students as they progress within the program. Furthermore, many of the music teachers also have contacts for private lessons that can develop performance skills.

Just as there are different styles of music, there are different learning styles as well, so have confidence as you discover what works. Some musicians 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. 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 then join in the adventure. Open your voice and see what song is released from you. March to the beat of that different drum and notice how many others are out there just like you.

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