Music teachers agree that students who give back to their communities are a joy to teach. Having altruistic people around makes everyone’s experience more positive. But I wondered, why is altruism important? So, I did a Google Search. Here is what came up.
Altruism activates reward systems in the brain. Neurobiologists have found that when a person behaves altruistically, the pleasure centers of their brain become more active. Engaging in compassionate actions activates the areas of the brain associated with the reward system. (Verywell Mind Nov. 14, 2022)
I had thought first of the benefit to the person on the receiving end. But there seem to be benefits both to the person receiving kindness and to the person who gives it.
What better than to encourage our students to share their music? Let’s share in a way that brings joy to both themselves and to others.
How to Share Your Music
For many years I have taught middle school with students ranging from ages 12-14. At this age, students are in early adolescence. They are growing and changing. They are unsure of themselves. They rely on the experiences of their peers. They can be mean and disrespectful.
I have found that if I encourage them to give back in some way, this ugly behavior transforms. Many times, I have taken them to perform at nursing homes. I have had them record their music to share with their grandparents. And I have had them reach out to younger students in their neighborhoods. They coach the younger students on how to play their instruments better. All these activities have led to students who are kinder and more thoughtful.
Recently I was getting a group ready for a music festival. I had work to do on the computer, so I let them rehearse by themselves. When one student kept messing up the rhythm, another student was kind in her criticism. She said, “We all make mistakes. We know you’re trying your best. Let’s do it again.”
What a joy for me as a teacher! The out-of-tune and out-of-rhythm playing is not important. When we are helping each other to achieve our best. When we are kind. And when we realize we are on a journey together to create something beautiful.
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Jenny guides you to find your musical self. You can learn piano, violin, viola, or ukulele.