While interviewing Don Meeker today for a feature story on the Falcon Singers, I wanted to ask him about what he believes are the benefits to music in a child's education.
"For me with these guys performing, getting them in front of people, it prepares them to be able to be in front of people in their lives," he said.
It was an interesting comment and makes a lot of sense. Back during my own childhood, I only participated in music when it was required. That usually meant periodic performances standing on risers on a school stage for a Christmas program.
When I got a little older, I always opted to play sports and avoided music when it was just an elective on my schedule. I didn't have much confidence in myself, but I also felt I had a terrible singing voice and believed it was too difficult to learn how to play an instrument.
In college, one of the most difficult classes for me to get through was speech. Speaking in front of people was not exactly one of my strong points, and to this day, still isn't. I even feel a little self-conscious when singing all alone to my infant son (although he is learning the lyrics to "American Pie)."
So when Meeker was talking about these singers learning how to perform in front of people could later give them confidence in their daily adult lives, it did make sense. It is important to be comfortable with your own voice, how you appear in your own skin and basically, how you see yourself in general.
All that doesn't mean you should go belt out a tune in the middle of Penn Station in New York City, but perhaps you can speak with confidence in a job interview or in front of co-workers in a staff meeting or during the public comments portion of a city council meeting.
It turns out music does have a lot of benefits. I wish I had learned that sooner.