Mr Brondyke on the benefits of group music:
Studies have shown that music education benefits students in a wide variety of ways, including increased academic achievement in other subjects. But there are some very specific benefits to group music participation that exceed even these basic academic music education perks. Of course, like athletics, or club participation, group music (band and choir) give students opportunities for social interaction. This is almost always positive because, unlike athletics, it is not primarily competitive based. Rather, it is nearly entirely collaborative and cooperative. We are pulling together as a “team,” but I am never “sitting the bench” or causing you to “sit the bench.” The summary statement would be, “Group music is FUN!” This is the point that makes group music preferable to private study alone. Private study is important, but group music makes the private study more naturally motivated. Plus, nearly all wind and precision instruments were invented primarily for group music use. And while solo singing can be enjoyable, you only make harmony with others.
Another advantage of group music participation is that it teaches responsibility to my “teammates.” I have to do my share, “pull my weight,” or the group suffers. In a typical classroom setting, your grade has no affect on my grade, so I don’t really care whether you are a good student. In group music, not only must I realize that others are depending on me, but I quickly realize that I am depending on others. Whether or not you can play or sing matters greatly to me. This offers an opportunity to learn mutual encouragement and the right kind of positive peer pressure.
Finally, while many other aspects make group music a worthy pursuit, for the homeschooler, each of these mentioned takes an added dimension, as group involvement, in general, must be sought out, rather than just occurring as a part of the everyday educational experience. Group music provides the perfect opportunity for the homeschooler to interact positively with other like-minded individuals.