The benefits of playing a ukulele- PART 3

The benefits of playing a ukulele- PART 3

Here is part 3 of Sarah’s thoughts on the benefits of playing a Ukulele.
An improved ability to work as a team and an increasing confidence and ability to share with and trust, others.
As outlandish as my claims seem to be, the playing of an instrument in a group situation,
with all of its accompanying demands in terms of teamwork and co-ordinated co-operation,
leaves an enormous and long lasting imprint upon a child’s social self. Through collaborative
music making, children learn to work with others, listen to others, advise and share with
others and, as appropriate, become real TEAM players. Be aware, though, simply because a
child is a great “team player” this does NOT mean that they cannot be an effective and
inspiring leader. If anything they are better armed for leadership, when required, as they
have a deep sense of what a one should be aiming at in terms of working together, group
cohesion, essential individual elements and the vital role of all component parts in ensuring
a project’s overall success.


(Taken from the Website “The School Run .com”)
“The ability to work together with others as part of a team is not simply a skill needed at
school, it is a vital skill used in all areas of life. School is, however, an excellent time to
cultivate the teamwork ethos your child will then draw from throughout their life.”

Why does it matter?

“Teamwork requires people to work cooperatively with others towards a shared purpose.
For a team to work together effectively, it takes all members of the team to respect each
other’s abilities and opinions. Teamwork is a highly social activity and involves much
interaction and exchanging of ideas and actions. Being part of a team enables your child to
move from more intrapersonal (individual) ways of thinking to interpersonal
(communicating with others). It will help a child in all areas of their learning, and help them
to feel part of a community, too.
Working as part of a team will strengthen your child’s social and emotional skills, help
develop their communication skills, and can improve confidence.”

Teamwork in school

“In school your child will experience teamwork in many different forms. Children may be
asked to work in pairs, small groups, or larger groups on a variety of different things. They
may be asked to work in teams for physical activities such as ball games or running games or
more formal activities such as projects. Children also often form their own team activities
during their play time.”


Dear Reader, the skeptics among you may worry that all of these assertions seem rather
“woolly”, based upon vague notions, surmised claims and subjective reports by batty
wandering music teachers. Not at all! SERIOUS, rigorous academic study has been
undertaken to measure, quantify and record objective results of enjoying music in all its
forms. It is VITAL that it is, however, an ENJOYABLE experience, or else the benefits are not
absorbed so effectively. ABOVE ALL, learning music has to be an ENJOYABLE experience. I
would venture to offer that this is true of all learning experiences that are of long term
benefit to the learner.
In her paper: “The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal
development of children and young people”: Susan Hallam repeatedly mentions the wide
ranging benefits of involvement in music making in terms of developing a personality’s
notion of “group cooperation/teamwork and a sense of belonging” . The entire paper is well
worth reading as it comprehensively covers so much of what study, fun and enjoyment of
music can offer the young and not so young alike.

Abstract (this is the rough overview of the entire paper, taken from Hallam’s text)

“This paper reviews the empirical evidence relating to the effects of active engagement with music on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people. It draws on research using the most advanced technologies to study the brain, in addition to quantitative and qualitative psychological and educational studies. It explains how musical skills may transfer to other activities if the processes involved are similar. It explores the evidence relating to the impact of musical skills on language development, literacy, numeracy, measures of intelligence, general attainment, creativity, fine motor co-ordination, concentration, self-confidence, emotional sensitivity, social skills, team work, self-discipline, and relaxation.
It suggests that the positive effects of engagement with music on personal and social development only occur if it is an enjoyable and rewarding experience. This has implications for the quality of the teaching.”
The whole paper is available at this link.
Here is a brief excerpt: “Two studies researched the perceived benefits of school band
participation in the USA. The benefits included accomplishment, appreciation, discipline, fun,
active participation and maturing relationships (Brown 1980). 95% of parents of non-band
participants believed that band provided educational benefits not found in other classrooms
and 78% agreed that band was more educational than extra-curricular. Band directors talked in
general terms about the benefits of discipline, teamwork, co-ordination, development of skills,
pride, lifetime skills, accomplishment, cooperation, self-confidence, sense of belonging,
responsibility, self-expression, creativity, performance, companionship, building character and
personality, improving self-esteem, social development and enjoyment. In a follow up study
(Brown, 1985), 91% of non-band parents, 79% of non-band students, 90% of drop-out band
parents and 82% of drop out band students agreed that participating in a band builds self-
esteem, self confidence and a sense of accomplishment. Similarly, in the UK, peripatetic
instrumental teachers working in schools reported considerable benefits of learning to play an
instrument including the development of social skills; gaining a love and enjoyment of music;
developing team-work; developing a sense of achievement, confidence and self-discipline; and
developing physical co-ordination (Hallam and Prince, 2000). Susan Hallam Institute of Education,
University of London, UK,
That may seem like a lot of facts and figures BUT, it seems clear that, at least according to this paper, the pursuit of music, when enjoyed, delivers a valuable and long lasting legacy to our children and is one of the reasons that I am so passionate about introducing ukulele playing, in all schools, around the United Kingdom. It is so lovely that Circus Day Nursery is so FAR AHEAD of the game, as music education and the care of the “whole child” as it stands, at present, nationally…..Happy GROUP strumming,
Mrs. Sarah Kelly-
UKE-CAN Ukulele Lessons