Summer Fun in (and out) of the Sun: Music Matters

Jul 30, 2021 | Posted by Jennifer

We have explored several ways to engage with students over the summer, but there is yet one final element to consider: music. Music benefits the mind as well as the body. Reflecting on the healing power of music, the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer once stated, “Music … will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.” The great soul singer Aretha Franklin echoed Bonhoeffer’s sentiments when she said, “Music does a lot of things for a lot of people. It’s transporting, for sure. It can take you right back, years back, to the very moment certain things happened in your life. It’s uplifting, it’s encouraging, it’s strengthening.”

Often a baby’s first exposure to music is listening to a parent sing lullabies. As children develop and grow, they continue to experience music, frequently in the form of nursery rhymes set to music or other simple tunes that help students learn about their world. Music continues to touch us throughout our lives. Currently I have a loved one who is navigating an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. When she listens to music that she used to enjoy in her younger days, her eyes brighten, and her memory sharpens for a moment or two. She becomes more verbal as she reminisces about her younger years. Music is good medicine!

Both listening to and playing music provide benefits. If you want to increase your children’s exposure to quality music, there are a number of ways to go about it. You could arrange lessons for an instrument your child is interested in. Tuba or tympany, harmonica or harp, violin or voice, children are likely to find at least one instrument that interests them. If you can’t find an instructor locally, expand your search to the Internet, where you will be able to cast a much wider net. For example, my nephew in Colorado is currently taking online voice lessons from an instructor in New York City.

To strengthen your children’s musical training, provide regular opportunities for them to demonstrate what they have learned by giving them a chance to perform at informal recitals. Because music is a performance art, students benefit from opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned. Recitals are personally rewarding for the student and provide a meaningful goal to work towards.

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, learning to play a musical instrument isn’t the only way to gain benefits from music. Listening to music yields huge rewards as well. Music can lift the spirits, relieve depression, strengthen the heart, mitigate pain, reduce stress, and, as I shared above, temporarily restore memories to the minds of dementia patients (“9 Health Benefits”). To share those benefits with as many students as possible, consider offering a music appreciation club that meets regularly. Pick a composer, provide snacks, and invite some kids over to listen to the music. To make it even more fun, encourage the kids to choreograph a dance to go along with a selection. Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, for instance, features fabulous pieces and lends itself well to choreography, as many a parent whose child is in ballet already knows.

Music is a vital component of the human experience. In Andrew Pudewa’s article “Music Is Not ‘Nice,’” he writes that “[music] is a profoundly powerful thing with transformational effects—on the individual as well as society.” Bearing that in mind underscores even more the importance of introducing your children to music.

As you go about your daily life this summer and throughout the year, furnish your family’s and your mind with beautiful music, whether through lessons or simply through listening. When you do, you are providing protection for mind, body, and spirit. Author and politician Edward Bulwer Lytton perhaps put it best: “Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit and never dies.”


Works Cited

“9 Health Benefits of Music.” NorthShore University HealthSystem, 31 Dec. 2020,

Pudewa, Andrew. “Music Is Not ‘Nice.’” Institute for Excellence in Writing, 2008,


Jennifer Mauser has always loved reading and writing and received a B.A. in English from the University of Kansas in 1991. Once she and her husband had children, they decided to homeschool, and she put all her training to use in the home. In addition to homeschooling her children, Jennifer teaches IEW classes out of her home, coaches budding writers via email, and tutors students who struggle with dyslexia.

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