Benefits of Playing Violin for Teens (for parents & teens)
There are a lot of great benefits for teens who practice and play violin! Most of these benefits remain the same no matter what age your young adult is and no matter when they started playing. Young adults often get experiences from violin that will impact positively while going through some of the toughest parts of your lives.
Violin in School, a Social Experience
Most teens learn to play violin in school, so most of this page focuses on that. However, I was homeschooled while learning to play, so if you're interested in learning more about violin playing for homeschoolers, please click here (coming soon)! Many homeschoolers simply go to a local public school to participate in the orchestra class there, so this page may still apply.
Teenagers, you may generally continue to learn violin skills in school, continuing your orchestral journey from elementary school. Generally, you may identify not only with being part of the musical group, but also with your instrument!
Mom & Dad - Learning the Violin Can Help your Teenager Improve Socializing with Others!
Parents, violin can help with your shy teen's socialization skills. Being in musical groups can help your son or daughter find similar-aged friends with similar interests.
In terms of other social benefits, when your teen is involved in playing violin in orchestra, they feel a sense of belonging because they are working within a team. They collaborate with others within their own violin section, as well as students playing other instruments in the same group (viola, cello, and bass).
Even if your young adult just started playing violin, often he will be expected to act and perform on stage in a way that is more consistent with classical violinist training.
This is especially true if he plays in the school orchestra. That means wearing "black-and-whites", for example, which are black slacks (or skirt), black socks, black shoes, and a white long-sleeved shirt or blouse.
It means watching the conductor for cues during musical pieces and staying quiet and focused during others' performances. He will be taught stage presence, which is the ability to handle oneself on-stage during concerts.
As if concerts weren't exciting enough, there may be opportunities for field trips to competitive musical contests (or, as it's known in the orchestra and band classes, "Contest") that occur at least once per semester. Students get the chance to participate in at least one judged performance. The look of pride on her face when she announces that her group got "all 1's at Contest!" is priceless.
Your teenage child get valuable musical feedback from professional musicians during Contest that helps them to improve in their chosen instrument. This is an excellent time for teens to learn how to smoothly handle objective, constructive criticism from others.
The focus, time, and concentration that your teen applies toward music during these years will stand them in good stead when they hit the more serious, business-like college courses.
Mental Benefits for Teens Learning Violin
Playing music allows teens to express themselves and be different from others. It gives them something special they can identify with and commit to.
It also allows them to release or cope with emotions from the difficult process of growing up. (1) Violin gives them something to focus their energies on. The teen years are a tumultuous time and music gives them a way to distract themselves and become immersed in something positive.
Even teens themselves see the benefit of playing an instrument like violin! In a study by Patricia Shehan Campbell, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, called "Adolescents' Expressed meanings of Music In and Out of School, teens themselves named improved motor ability and eye-hand coordination as just two additional benefits of playing an instrument. (Sounds like it might help their video gaming, too!) (2)
For myself, I found that playing the violin in a school orchestra gave me a way to interface with people my own age in a controlled environment. I was not the most social person in my teen years! Nevertheless, with music, I found myself working well with people I never would have thought I would talk to. It broke me out of my box and helped me to grow. Now, years later, I know that those years spend leading a viola section in several youth orchestras helped me become the teacher I am today.
Physical Benefits for Teens Learning Violin
The physical benefits for teenagers playing violin are very similar to those for adults and children. Your teen will see an increase in upper body strength and back strength.
Their hands will be much stronger...especially their fingers. Their video gaming skills (if they play) will probably improve, too! As students progress in violin, they have to learn to relax certain muscles while tensing others, which keeps them in tune with their (often changing) physical state.
If your teen gets the guidance he needs as he begins / continues to play, you will probably notice an improvement in posture. The playing position for violin is not necessarily a natural one, so you might expect some complaints from your teen as studies commence. Here are some things to keep in mind (and to remind your teen of):
- Slouching forward while playing stresses the lower back and often unduly tires out the shoulders (which don't need any help in that department!) and in my experience tends to encourage bad habits with the left hand.
- Sitting closer to the edge of the chair will encourage better posture because your teens back isn't touching the back of the chair.
- Leaning one way or the other will eventually cause pain in the opposite side.
- Playing with the proper playing posture just looks cooler. You look professional, under control, and calm. What teen doesn't need to project that?