A musical education helps kids hit all the right developmental notes

When a four-year-old tells their parents they want a piano, it might just be a good idea to listen and grant the request.

Victoria Warfield did just that with her mom and dad.

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Impressed by the classical music she listened to on the 78 speed records from jukeboxes her father repaired, the youngster knew exactly where her future lay.

"I had access to all of this wonderful music and I wanted to play it,” says Warfield, president of the Richmond Branch of BC Registered Music Teachers’ Association. “So, I told my parents I wanted a piano.”

The trouble was, her parents fulfilled her request with a toy piano the young Warfield literally reduced to kindling in frustration.

Eventually, it was replaced with a proper one, which was no mean feat as the cost was steep back in the 1950s for a family with five young children.

“Still, they made it happen,” says Warfield who references the story as a means to emphasize the importance music and proper instruction can make in a child’s development.

“It sets you apart, in some ways,” says Warfield, 62, who has been teaching piano for five decades. “For one, it’s demanding of your time and you have to learn time management at an early age.”

And young musicians develop one-on-one relationships with adults - their music teachers - at a much earlier time, making the young student more socially mature at an early age.

“Even today, I see it with the younger kids. They have a very mature ability to have a conversation with an adult, because they are working closely with their music teacher,” Warfield explains. “In most instances, in a school classroom situation youngsters don’t interact with an adult in that way.

“And that gives them a maturity beyond their years socially, which is a really important characteristic that helps carry them forward.”

Music is also a great outlet for developing creativity.

“Once you figure out what you have to do with your chosen instrument to make a sound, then the creativity kicks in,” Warfield says, adding problem-solving and increased motor skills are other benefits a musical education brings.

Seeing young musicians make that journey to acquire those attributes is immensely satisfying, Warfield says.

“It’s a satisfaction knowing they are becoming the person they were meant to be,” she says.

So, how do you decide on the right teacher to guide your budding musician?

Contact the local branch of the BC Registered Music Teachers Association. That way you can be assured of choosing someone who is highly qualified and experienced.

“Our Richmond branch is coming up to our 50th anniversary in 2021 and we are still one of the largest branches in the province with almost 90 members,” Warfield says. 

For more information about the BC Registered Music Teachers’ Association’s Richmond Branch, visit www.bcrmta.com, or call 604-268-9559.

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