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The Hood Magazine

The Gift of Music

Oct 27, 2014 03:04PM ● By Hood Magazine
By Alyssa Kuecker, Avera Health  


Nothing beats a creative rendition of “Joy to the World” on a shiny, new trap set early Christmas morning.

If you’re still looking for a unique holiday present for your child, give music. Erin Cook, Board-Certified Music Therapist at Avera Behavioral Health Center and Avera Cancer Institute, reminds parents that music-based gifts come in all shapes and sizes, and can deliver many benefits. 

“All children have musical abilities,” said Erin. “The interesting thing about playing music or being exposed to music is that children can achieve nonmusical goals, such as better social, emotional, physical or performance skills. Music can spark creativity and confidence in children, and it stimulates every part of the brain.” 

You may have already noticed that young children love making noise. Give that noise a sound and pitch by gifting a little drum set, maracas, or a tambourine for Christmas.

Instruments are great gifts and a worthwhile investment, but make sure your child has expressed interest in learning an instrument. Otherwise, it may become an expensive dust collector!

Erin said guitars are popular today among teenagers. Guitars, as with any instrument, spark creativity and allow teens to express themselves by writing their own music and lyrics.

Funding lessons is another gift opportunity. If grandparents are looking for a Christmas gift, suggest that they pay for future lessons.

In addition, iTunes gift cards work well for kids at any level of musical interest. Gift cards are great because you get to choose individual songs that you want from an artist, instead of purchasing an entire CD album (which, by the way, is going out of style).

Another gift is concert tickets. Does your child have a favorite band? Go online to search for their next appearance in the nearest arena.

Or you can make your own concert and bring a karaoke machine into your home. Erin suggests family nights when everyone shares their favorite music.

And remember, the holidays are the season of giving. Encourage children who enjoy singing or playing an instrument to share their talent with a local nursing home or hospital.

“Performing in front of older audiences brings generations together with great outcomes. It brings joy to the residents, and it buildings confidence in the performers.”

Erin helps patients of all ages use music for coping and relaxing. “Music is a universal language,” said Erin. “We all can relate to music, and it has the ability to evoke many different emotions within us. Encourage children to explore music through instruments, songs and dance. Music will stay with your children forever.”