With many schools being online as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many children may struggle with significant adjustments to their routines, which may interfere with their sense of structure, predictability, and security. In addition to keeping children physically safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also important to care for their emotional health.

Laura E. McAleer-Leavey, M.D., a family medicine physician at Riverside Primary Care Kiln Creek talks about the importance of a predictable routine: “Routine tells the brain what’s coming and helps children and adults mentally and physically prepare for the next event. It provides a sense of predictability that can reduce stress and anxiety.”

Children need ample time to engage in play and other joyful or learning experiences without worrying or talking about the pandemic.  A number of ISM families are making the most of extra time at home by using their musical talents to bring them together. “This has really helped us bond,” dad John W. said. “It’s a time of the day where all four of us can come together, just sit down and play music together as a family. And it’s a fun activity that gives us something to do, learn and create, as we continue to stay home.”

Here are a few tips on how music can help:

Mind on my music, music on my mind: Music and focus are connected! Music requires concentration in order to progress, and just like any muscle or skill, focus needs to be exercised so it can be honed. Not only will students progress musically, but they will sharpen their concentration, strengthen their reading skills, and build discipline which can certainly help with online schooling.

Fun during the week:  With the school year starting, most band, orchestra, and choral classes are remaining online, which means students who would normally play their instrument in school will be missing that opportunity. Having an activity to look forward to which engages kids can make a huge impact on the monotony of the week. Music lessons provide structure as well as an outlet for them to process any difficult emotions which might be abundant during this time.

Muse-ical: Music can light up inspiration in all sorts of creative ways! Try considering how music can be mixed with dance, drawing, or even writing. Music should be interactive and fun. Practice rhythms by jumping on the beats. Draw a picture that captures the emotions music evokes. Improvise your own music while listening to your favorite artist. The possibilities are endless.

Music is supposed to be creative: Often times when overwhelmed with other responsibilities or activities, music lessons can seem like a chore. It’s easy to forget why we became interested in music in the first place. Music can be fun, and challenging, and even inspirational. Find a fun piece of music you have always wanted to play or sing and discover the excitement and joy of music! Quarantine will not last forever, but music certainly will.

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