Benefits of String Instrument Education
Music education provides many benefits to students. A music program offering instruction on musical instruments has been shown to increase scholastic performance, encourage social interaction, and help students to feel good about school. Instrumental instruction may even lead to college scholarships or professional opportunities for some students.
There are educational benefits specific to learning a string instrument (violin, viola, cello, or bass). When music education includes opportunities for string instruction, a school or district can reap specific benefits for their students and the school community.
Orchestra in schools provides authentic opportunities for diversity in education
Every great composer in the classical canon wrote pieces for string music. The study of Western Classical Music in incomplete without opportunities for students to play string instruments. However, string instruments play more than classical string quartets. String instruments are increasingly used in all styles of popular music. A string ensemble can give a school the opportunity to transmit cultural heritage in many genres including Mariachi and jazz. Fiddle music can be studied in the context of history at both the national and regional level.
String instruments provide opportunities for English Language Learners
It seems all schools are seeing an increase in students whose first language is not English. Because of the external, physical, nature of a string instrument, a language barrier does not hinder learning. Vocal production and wind instruments have many internal physical components that need to be expressed verbally. On a string instrument, the teacher can demonstrate, and the student can see what must be done.
Orchestra in schools develops student coordination and fine motor skills
Playing a string instrument is a physical activity requiring a diverse array of fine motor skills. One hand smoothly moves the bow while the other presses and stops the string. Finger and bow placement must be precise. Students develop flexibility and dexterity in the hands and fingers. Students must have good playing posture to produce a good sound, encouraging good posture when away from the instrument.
Orchestra in schools allow students to begin instruction at any age
Only string instruments come in small sizes for small children. Students must wait to begin instruction on a band instrument until they are physically big enough to handle the instrument. Students can begin instruction on a string instrument as young as they begin school. As the child grows, they graduate to larger instruments. Students can start younger.
Orchestra in schools develop acute aural skills
Orchestral string instruments are played without frets or buttons. The finger stops the string, and students must be very precise to play in tune. Students must develop a music ear to perform with good intonation.
Orchestra in schools makes a higher quality music department
Orchestra enriches school band and choral programs. String programs enable students to perform great choral masterpieces, symphonic literature, popular music, and theatrical productions. Some schools have strong band programs but lack orchestral studies. Inclusion of orchestra enriches the entire music department and makes a better band and chorus.
Orchestra in schools increase student participation in music
Schools that value music education will want the best possible music program with a high percentage of student participation. Students are drawn to the sound and tone color of certain instruments. This personal preference leads to participation in instrument instruction. Parents also have preferences based on what they like and personal history, encouraging students to study the instrument of their choice. A music program that offers all instruments, not just band, encourages participation and makes happy students and parents.