Christmas Concerts Spread Spirit and Cheer
This week at Yew Chung International School of Beijing, ECE kindergarten and Primary students treated their families, classmates and teachers to a showcase of their musical talents during the school’s annual Christmas Concert series. Focusing on holiday-themed songs, the concerts consisted of orchestral arrangements, solo performances, interpretive dances, and even a rock band!
Yet, in addition to spreading holiday spirit, the Music Programme at YCIS Beijing provides students with a bevy of benefits that extend beyond the music classroom. From physical to mental and social benefits, music education is important towards the growth of the entire individual.
Cindy Guo and Ai Li, Primary Violin Teachers at YCIS Beijing, share more information about how the violin specifically aids students’ in multiple aspects of their development.
Building the Body
When learning to play the violin, students’ arms and fingers learn new physical skills. Much like going to the gym or engaging in physical exercise, with proper posture, the muscles will strengthen over time.
Co-ordination is also improved through continued practice, as left-hand and right-hand activities occur simultaneously, but independently. A student’s left-brain will control the bowing action of their right-hand, while their right-brain will control the fingering action of their left-hand. Both hands operate differently in their function, requiring both body balance and co-ordination.
Molding the Mind
In the midst of an orchestra, or even during solo performances, students need to maintain their concentration and focus on their specific piece of music. In doing so, they will both increase their concentration skills and become more self-disciplined in the process. It requires tremendous discipline and concentration to not be distracted when playing in front of an audience and with accompanying instruments, and through repeated practice of this process, it will become easier and easier for students.
Additionally, in having to memorise lengthy pieces of music without having paper sheets to read and work with, students are able to exercise their memory as well. During a concert, some students will have as many as three songs that they need to learn and play from memory, and strengthening their memory in this way will also benefit them in other subject areas.
There are also many social benefits to playing the violin. When practising and playing with others, students are able to meet new people and forge relationships through the common bond of music, and being a part of a musical group is a healthy way to make lasting friendships.
There are also opportunities for community engagement by performing in concerts and activities both inside and outside school. In recent weeks, YCIS Beijing students have performed for the school community in a series of Christmas Concerts, as well as for the wider expat community with Christmas carols at the Beijing Hilton and a rock music performance at this year’s British Ball.
Finally, music education offers students a chance for cultural enrichment. Music is as old as civilisation itself, and like language, it is a window through which to understand a culture. When students study, engage with and appreciate the music of different cultures and regions, they are able to better communicate with other aspects of that culture, and to better understand an increasingly globalised planet.