Dramatic Benefits of Group Music Instruction Are Just Beginning to Be Understood


-By Dr. Alicia Ann Clair and Karl T. Bruhn Copyright © 1999

Humans have the need to belong, to be part of a group of individuals who share interests, and who come together fo r a common purpose. Such needs are as important to children and teens as they are to people in mid- life and to senior adults. In fact, it is increasingly being understood that this need for connection with others may be the most important component contrib uting to quality of life. That's just one -- albeit an important -- reason why learning to play a musical instrument in an organized group setting can be so beneficial. A three-year research undertaking called the Music Making And Wellness Research Project, has underscored the relationship between group music making and wellness, especially among the elderly. Dr. Frederick Tims, principal investigator for the project and professor and chair of Music Therapy at Michigan State University says, "We feel strongly that abundant health benefits can be achieved by older adults who learn to make music in a supportive, socially enjoyable setting." In addition, he states,” We are just beginning to understand the positive effects of making music on our bodies and our physical health.” Researchers believe this to be the case because over and above the sheer pleasure and enjoyment of learning to make music, participating in supportive, socially enjoyable music classes provides the opportunity for social interaction in a totally non threatening environment. And they have found that sharing music making often leads to people also sharing personal concerns and issues that are a part of life's experiences. For example, people who make music together in their communities, often travel together to and from lessons. As their interests grow, many also attend musical events with one another and continue to socialize after their classes or attending a musical event. As their knowledge and appreciation of one another grows, they may share things about their personal lives and in the process of opening up, discover meaningful new and lasting friendships. However, people who are not as comfortable sharing on a personal level focus their discussions on music and music making topics. In such a setting, sharing the music provides the basis and the reason for social interaction. The benefits and joys of an individual learning to play a musical instrument generally have been well known. Less well known, Tims says, are the significant and additional benefits that come from making music in a supportive, socially enjoyable setting. He is an advocate in encouraging others that this is something worth looking into for anyone thinking about learning to play an instrument and making their own music. Dr. Alicia Ann Clair is Director of Music Therapy, University of Kansas. Karl Bruhn serves as presidential advisor to the American Music Therapy Association.

Grand Piano Upright Piano Digital Piano Hammond Organ
Lowrey Organ

Grand Piano

Upright Piano Digital Piano Hammond

American Music World Inc., with two locations in the Chicago area - Illinois premier piano retailer since 1979. Chicago's largest selection of new and used pianos. Home to the world’s top piano lines, including exclusive authorized representatives for new  Baldwin pianos, Yamaha digital pianos, Pramberger pianos and Young Chang pianos as well as certified used pianos by Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway, Mason and Hamlin and many more. Knowledgeable, professional sales consultants. “Best Price” guarantee. In-house warranty and technical service. Home and special event piano rentals. We support our communities’ educators and host the recitals of hundreds of students and performers each year.  Our reputation for quality music and personal service goes back thirty years. We offer piano services, piano moving, piano restoration, lessons and service for everything we sell. No matter what your age, interest or skill, we offer you expertise to help select, learn to play, and care for your musical investment.

American Music World 603 N York St. Elmhurst IL 60126
Phone: 708-771-1890
7136 W Touhy Ave NILES, IL 60714 
Phone: 847-966-1360
Copyright © American Music World Forest Park, IL