Children and young people can greatly benefit from making music together in a band, a musical ensemble or an orchestra. Individual benefits of collective musical creation include confidence, aesthetic development, teamwork, problem solving and concentration, discipline, the pursuit of excellence, leadership, determination, esteem, perseverance, cooperation and coexistence. , competitive spirit and academic success.
This article was inspired by the Venezuelan system of children's and youth orchestras, better known as "El Sistema". This system of youth orchestras has helped thousands of children through the collective practice of music.
Individual Benefits of Collective Music.
Based on my five years of participatory observations as a member of a youth orchestra and my years of study of orchestral practice and the teaching of the music to children and adults, I can say that collective music offers many benefits. level and are disseminated to families and communities.
The individual level includes the spiritual, moral, intellectual and emotional development of young people involved in collective musical practice, which helps them develop their full potential. Individual benefits of collective musical creation include confidence, aesthetic development, teamwork, problem solving and concentration, discipline, the pursuit of excellence, leadership, determination, esteem, perseverance, cooperation and coexistence. , competitive spirit and academic success.
Children and teens gain self-confidence by making music. They feel that they are important members of a band, the orchestra. Teachers and school leaders pay close attention to this, making them feel that they are creating something important and beautiful by working together. They face musical challenges, strive to achieve hard-to-reach goals, and display their newly gained confidence in their performances.
Young musicians also develop a sense of aesthetic beauty through sensual experiences in their early years. They listen and play exquisite music, they touch and feel beautiful instruments, they practice and play surrounded by the wonderful architecture of world-class theaters and concert halls, and even develop their own aesthetics through dressage.  The power of music. First of all, we look for excellence in the music played, then we look for excellence in everything else. It's the magic of the arts. The arts transform the sense of the beauty of individuals; then, having seen the intrinsic value of the arts, they are no longer satisfied with anything.
The orchestral structure is an excellent ground for learning to work in a team. The orchestra is an example of how to live properly in a democratic society. In the orchestra, everyone has a specific function and collaborates with all others to achieve a common goal. Young musicians learn that to make good music, they have to listen and work as a team.
The orchestra or musical ensemble is the ideal micro-democratic society. Through orchestral practice, children and youth learn that the contribution of each member is directly related to the orchestra's overall outcome. In the orchestra, they must listen and work as a well-designed instrument. In this way, the orchestra is comparable to a piano, each member being equivalent to a key and where each key is fundamental to the proper functioning of the instrument as a whole.
Problem solving skills and deep focus
Making music is a great way to learn problem-solving and focus skills. Children learn to approach new situations by learning new music. Musicians learn to see the big picture, small components and possible obstacles, and to think about how to treat music technically and stylistically. They learn to apply problem solving techniques, which they can then apply to solve any type of problem because they have learned to think. They have also learned to concentrate because they have to concentrate for long periods of time during rehearsals and practices. This ability to focus deeply and focus also helps them to do other non-musical activities.
Young members of the orchestra must follow disciplinary rules, as in any other professional orchestra. They learn to listen to the leader's instructions and learn how to behave like professionals in concert halls, hotels and planes during tours. They learn etiquette and protocol for a variety of situations. They learn time management, punctuality and how to follow schedules. In general, they are exposed to situations that require that they control their individual impulses in order to achieve a common group goal.
In pursuit of excellence
Part of the experience of playing in a musical ensemble involves close contact with professional musicians and instructors. These contacts encourage children to seek excellence. They can also go to the concert to see professional musicians play and they often choose models or idols, which they follow the career and admire. Nobody aspires to be mediocre; Young musicians learn that they can excel when they work hard, as others have done before them. They learn to be motivated and pursue excellence for their own rewards.
The most advanced young musicians are given leading roles in the orchestra. They occupy the positions of section chief in the orchestra and learn to be responsible for their sections. They must establish common techniques and styles for specific situations. They model the leadership qualities and techniques of more experienced musicians and adult leaders. They learn to provide encouragement, positive reviews, praise, advice and to give the example.
Children who participate in an orchestra or musical ensemble learn individual responsibility, set high standards for themselves, and develop a work ethic. Through hours of rehearsals, weeks of touring and seminars, and countless performances, young musicians discover the link between hard work and success. This knowledge and experience can be applied to any career choices they make in life.
Upon their acceptance into the musical ensemble, the young musicians are part of the family of the orchestra. They feel important, valuable and safe in their environment. They do not fear failure because failure does not threaten their sense of competence and self-esteem. They are also beginning to feel a connection with society in general. In this way, many children from the lower social classes have the opportunity to feel respectable citizens who have reached an important place in society and, for this reason, they are less likely to get lost in drugs and other social vices. . Thus, inclusion and acceptance create a strong sense of personal worth, which motivates them to succeed. They identify as professional musicians and behave accordingly. According to Woolfork (2004), when students participate fully, motivation comes from the identity and identity of legitimate participation. A positive cycle is created.
It is very understandable that any child who learns by experience that the practice creates the skills necessary to excel will strive to achieve the level of performance expected from him. This happens in music as in any other activity that requires practice to succeed. Through endless practice, they see each other better.
Young musicians soon learn that excellence is not achieved without effort and serious practice. As a result, they become master's-oriented students who focus on mastering goals in order to increase their skills and abilities.
Cooperation and coexistence
Young musicians from different socio-economic backgrounds, of various ages and with very diverse abilities, learn about tolerance, flexibility and cooperative coexistence through the different situations in which they are involved in the world. ;orchestra. There is no culture of blame; rather, individuals try to do their best, competing with themselves. They learn, practice and travel together and often make lasting friendships with their orchestral or choral peers.
The nature of orchestral practice requires the cooperation of all performers. This condition establishes the necessary relationships between individuals, musicians, sections of the orchestra and the orchestra as a whole. In addition, there are relationships between the soloist and the orchestra, and the orchestra and the conductor. All these cooperative experiences make it possible to become aware of the different roles played by musicians in the orchestra and to condition their behavior in other social situations.
Competition is part of human nature. In the end, young musicians will have to compete for the best jobs and money, but the orchestra provides the time and place in which they can learn to compete without negative consequences. In the arts, music is one of the few areas where the needs of individuals are subject to the collective. Musical elements such as rhythm and, more specifically, harmony, impose physical demands on individuals. There can be no multiple perceptions of rhythm, style, or harmony in an orchestra. Individuals express and transmit a musical message, but in the parameters of a collective understanding of the musical elements of a particular room.
A healthy competition is similar to a game, and can make practice and learning more fun. A spirit of competition is present in collective musical practice, as in any other activity in which excellence is rewarded. The youth orchestra offers an opportunity in which individuals face each other while cooperating simultaneously (that is, a healthy competition). Motivated by this healthy competitive spirit, musicians in the orchestra feel free to make mistakes and challenge themselves, testing their limits in a safe environment.
It has been proven that those who started very early with strong emotional encouragement from their parents [instructors and/or peers] tend to suffer less from fear.
(Frederiksen and Lavatelli cited in Goode, 42). Children who participate in the Orchestra see performance as an approved and encouraged activity, which is fun, and they progress in their artistic career with a confident attitude. As young musicians, they focus on music in a childish way, with total confidence, sincerity and lack of concern.
A positive link has been established between regular studies and the practice of the orchestra in the Venezuelan system of orchestras (El Sistema). The system requires young people an optimal academic performance at school in order to enter into his musical studies. Children are forced to plan their activities appropriately to maximize their time available for academic and musical success. The young people who are part of the system show a significant improvement in their attention, concentration and assimilation abilities. They are continually encouraged by their friends and teachers to continue their education.
The benefits of music have often been studied and many studies have shown that studying music is not only beneficial in itself, but that it also helps mathematics. learning to read and science, as claimed by Halpern (1985, 1999) (cited by Jensen 2000). Music is "an effective vehicle for the conscious and subconscious transmission of information" (247).
For Jensen (2000), some of the learning benefits attributed to music are: relaxation and stress reduction; promote creativity through the activation of brain waves; stimulation of the imagination and thought; and stimulation of motor skills, speech and vocabulary. In addition, musical study helps focus and align the energy of the group and reduce discipline problems.