They say that music is the universal language. Regardless of where you are from or what your background, a good melody is something that everyone can enjoy and understand. Studies show a correlation between higher academic achievements with children who are exposed to music. Music simply stimulates parts of the brain that are related to reading, math, and emotional development. Further research has shown that participation in music at an early age can help improve a child’s learning ability and memory by stimulating different patterns of brain development.
We at X Juvenile Justice Centre and G as our ACMF music teacher work with clients with learning difficulties on a daily basis. One case in particular has really opened my eyes to how learning music or guitar in this client’s case has benefited his memory, confidence and ability to communicate freely. The client in question was very withdrawn and shy, had little to no interaction with the rest of the clients in his unit. Once commencing the ACMF music program the client started to show a significant change within himself, to the point where he now performs (sings and plays guitar) for the entire Center on occasion and regularly plays throughout the day in the unit. He is has also written his own music and we are currently in the process of getting some of his work recorded.
Socially, clients who become involved in music learn important life skills, such as how to relate to others, how to work as a team and appreciate the rewards that come from working together, and the development of leadership skills and discipline.
Once a month we try to have ACMF teacher G come in on a Friday night where he has dinner with the clients in our program unit (taco night) and after dinner G and his ACMF students will have a jam session for the rest of the unit where they are encouraged to sing along with the guys. It’s a great atmosphere with a lot of laughs.
We live in a world of instant gratification, but real life demands having patience. When you are playing or learning music it teaches you to be patient, you have to be willing to wait your turn to play otherwise the sound is a mess. That inadvertently teaches patience, something we all struggle with on occasion especially our clients.
Our music clients have to earn the right to play the guitar and keep the guitar in their room, if they do not achieve their goals and incentives for the week they lose access to having their guitar in their room! In turn, this makes the client accountable for his actions throughout the week, an integral part of life in the real world.
Here at X Juvenile Justice Centre we are at a unique stage where we have a few clients writing and composing their own music and lyrics. In the not too distant future we hope to have these clients recording these songs as well. A huge thanks has to go out to our local music legion and ACMF teacher G for all his experience and positive vibes he brings to our humble Centre.