‘Music is not a recreation for the elite, but a source of spiritual strength which all cultured people should endeavour to turn into public property.’ Zoltan
Achievement can mean different things for people. One person’s huge achievement might be another’s minor enhancement. We are all unique. Different. We are an ever-evolving absolute combination of fascination, emotion, ambition, and movement. Achievement comes in many forms. Children. Marriage. Career. Exams. Walking. Reading. Playing an instrument. Driving a car. Singing a song. It means so many different things to everyone. When children participate in regular music making activities, they gain a real sense of achievement. Collaboration, cooperation, concentration, creativity, time management, output, and logistical sequencing (White, 2018). Playing music as a child also builds good study habits for later in life, and can also improve your child’s quality of life.
A few years ago, I worked with a child. He was extremely shy and suffered consistent anxiety. He would always fade into the background. Not be seen. Or heard. He felt useless. A nuisance to others. In the way. Patrick was 11 years old. He had a mild learning disability and lived with his mother and sister. He stayed with his father most weekends. Outside of school, he never really socialised, spending most of his time playing games on his tablet. It was when I was in the chaotic midst of orchestrating a school show that I noticed Patrick’s stooped stature at the back of the school hall. It was a jam-packed afternoon of auditions. Singing, dancing, acting. Playing instruments, telling jokes, showcasing acrobatics, reciting poetry, monologues, improvisations. It was my idea of heaven, and for others, their concept of hell. Patrick was not on the audition register. He daren’t. He could hardly hold a conversation with people never mind revealing his entirety in front of a judgmental audience. He sat. Alone. Hunched. Expressionless. Vacant. During one of the intervals, I approached Patrick. We didn’t know each other that well as he was not in my class. I sat on the rickety bench beside him. Staring at our feet, I confided in him. I let him know that the auditions were exciting and were a crazy mixture of greatness and utter disarray. Our feet moved side to side, rhythmically. In time. I let him know that I was totally confused. That my head was about to explode. You see, I had decisions to make. Important decisions. Decisions that would make a child feel exuberantly happy and another woefully sad. I could not do this alone. I needed help. A child’s help. Someone that would help me allocate roles. That afternoon, our feet still swayed. Left. Right. Left. Right. Our eyes connected and we exchanged smiles. Patrick helped me. We allocated roles to EVERY SINGLE CHILD. Patrick was proud that day. In fact, he was proud for weeks to come as he worked alongside me, helping. My assistant achieved something pretty outstanding over those few months. Confidence and self-belief. He made many friends. Friends that he socialised with outside of school. It will be forever engraved in my heart when Patrick told me how believing in yourself can make you achieve anything.