Back to school for your kids? Don’t forget to schedule private music lessons.

Backpacks, Binders and Bach (or the Beatles!)

It’s that time of year again. “First Day of School” pictures on social media abound. Parents are basking in the brief honeymoon period from the end of summer break until the first lunchbox or set of gym clothes is lost.

Most of us feel like we have made it across the finish line and can indulge in a collective exhale. Then that call comes. “Are you ready to start music lessons again?” Or maybe you find yourself with a beginning band student in your home and those clarinet lessons seem like a good idea.


You may feel overwhelmed with the back to school grind, getting into a new routine, figuring out if the middle school homework load is as bad as you’ve heard. You may think, let’s see how things go, and then we’ll get to the music.

While it is easy to feel like music is another activity on the list, it has the potential to be the antidote to all the back to school stress. While “mindfulness” is a current buzzword in education, music has always been an inherently mindful activity. Both attending a lesson and daily practice require attention to the moment at hand. Whether it is in focusing on posture, breath, or body position, the musician is always learning to bring their thoughts into a single focus. What does that sound like? How do I feel? How am I using my body and/or my instrument?

More than a lesson

A weekly music lesson is not just an opportunity to acquire musical skills, it is a chance to leave all the homework worries, social drama and other stressors at the door. In the same vein, daily practice doesn’t need to be a grind. Instead, it can function as an effective “brain break”. Consider encouraging 15-20 minutes in the middle of a study session. The benefits to both the homework routine and a student’s musical progress is tremendous, and it takes away the struggle of enforcing practice during “play time” — instead it becomes play time!

So make that call, schedule the lessons, and give your kid the gift of a mindful, musical moment every day. You may even want to schedule your own “brain break” while you are at it!

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