The holiday season is here again with holiday music heard only this time of year. Recently, some parents of gifted students were asking about music and its influence on their children who are gifted. For some of the students, their area of giftedness is in music. For the others, their areas of giftedness varied, but they all experienced asynchronous development. Because of this, their students each had stressors that impacted their life. The parents described students with sleeplessness, times of great activity with little down time, and emotional intensity. The parents asked about whether music could help their students relieve some stress and calm their ever-moving mind. Hence, the discussion about music and its influence on people commenced. The parents’ discussion helped support each other; this, in turn, helped their students.
There is a lot of research across decades showing the benefits of music to calm oneself, and to aid in academic learning, among other benefits. For some students who are gifted, music helps them study, learn, and work on their projects and interests. Students whose gifted area is music also benefit from the calming effects of music, apart from their specific musical abilities. A study in 2020 supports what gifted students say about how music helps them relax, focus, release stress, and express themselves (Jais & Farhana, 2020). For example, a student gifted in playing an instrument or singing, can spend hours per day or week practicing to become a better musician and to learn new musical compositions preparing for a performance, even if it is just a student recital. Apart from practicing, listening to music of their choice helps these students find benefits from music to calm themselves, among other things.
Some gifted students listen to music, others write music, others create music in traditional and/or non-traditional ways. One thing the parents shared is that some of them found it effective to stop insisting their students study and do schoolwork in ways that the parents did (e.g., working in silence). Most found that their gifted students thrived when simultaneously listening to music and studying and/or doing schoolwork. Often, their student’s selection of music was not what the parents would choose, but it was effective in calming the student and providing a means for them to accomplish their work and their own personal projects. Some of the parents found that allowing their students to select their own playlist, and listen when they needed to, enhanced the abilities of their students to interact with others and accomplish tasks. Others found that their students escaped by writing their own music, or playing music on whatever device worked for them. This flexibility by the parent was the key for the student who is gifted.
Below are a few music resources.
Supporting Musically Talented Children: Challenging Social and Emotional Roadblocks to Success, SENG, 2/11/21
The Significance of Music to Gifted Students
Md Jais, Ismail, & Azu Farhana
Quantum Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities 9(4), pages 43-44
Arts Integration, The Kennedy Center
Studying to Music Can Put Your Brain in the Right Frame of Mind
9/17/18, Vaughn College
3 Things I Learned from My Most Gifted Students
Alfred Music, 8/24/21
Websites for Kids
Music Teachers National Association
3 Ways to Use Music in the Classroom, Edutopia, 12/3/19
How to Engage Students Using Music Education
6/14/21, Teachers College, Columbia University
Dr. Wanda Routier
Former WATG Board Member
Ask the Doctor