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How Music Helps to Achieve New Year’s Resolutions

It’s the new year, and with it comes all the reflection and hopes of a better year ahead. Many of us have set goals for 2024, whether they be physical, mental, financial, relationship, or work related. Unfortunately, statistics show an estimated 80% of new years resolutions are broken within the first few weeks. However, there is hope. There are many resources that provide helpful methods for staying within that elusive twenty percentile. Music has been shown, in several ways, as one such method to help achieve goals. For example, Improved fitness (48%) and improved mental health (36%) both ranked in the top five most common new year’s resolutions. Both of these goals have a heavy physiological element to them, and music has been shown to help.

Music Helps Kick Addiction

Addiction is when you have a strong physical or psychological urge or need to do something or use something. Goals regarding improved mental or physical health are often associated with some kind of addiction. The association between addiction and adverse physical and mental well-being is well documented. Whether the goal is it to stop drinking as a coping mechanism, give up sweets or excessive eating, cutting down screen time, or to quit smoking, the addiction typically influences the physical or mental ailment. Music has been shown to help with addiction in several ways, therefore helping to achieve physiological goals.

Music Soothes the Savage Beast

Music therapy and music-based interventions have been used for some time to treat all kinds of compulsive and addictive behavior. Music therapy treatments include music listening, songwriting, music assisted meditation/mediation, and active music making. Simply listening to music helps to open the mind to learn new useful insights through therapy. Furthermore, music has been shown to increase one’s tolerance for frustration, improve interpersonal communication and self-esteem. All of these benefits of music therapy help to calm those who may be having physical and mental withdrawals from impulsive actions or addictive behavior. The act of learning or practicing music also provides another benefit for those who are trying to reach new life goals.

Learning Music Helps to Keep and Redirect Focus

We are all familiar with the adage “idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” When we are striving to achieve new goals or keep resolutions, especially when it involves avoiding addictive behavior, it is often helpful to have something new on which to focus. This helps to keep our minds (and hands) away from the unwanted behavior we are trying to change. Learning a musical instrument is beneficial in many forms, including improved cognitive function, mindfulness, and discipline. Many addictions are physical as well as mental, often having tactile associations. Learning a musical instrument provides new tactile sensation and occupation. For example, the hand to mouth fixation of smoking or drinking can be purposefully interrupted and replaced by learning to play a keyboard. Finally, learning a musical instrument creates new pleasure associations that can replace addictive behaviors, while providing achievement that can be easily realized.

Music can be a catalyst to help those who have set new goals and resolutions for the new year. It provides a tangible and measurable example in which to see results and realize potential. It helps to calm and create an open mind, while providing a form of replacement for undesired behaviors. Learning music at an early age, such as engaging in early childhood music programs, prepares children to achieve their goals later in life. 

Goal Setting for Teachers in the Childhood Music Classroom

The annual turning of the calendar generates reflection of the year past as well as expectation for the year ahead. Whether we wish to or not, during this time we often go through a mental exercise of regrets and aspirations. When looking to improve our personal as well as professional lives in the new year, purposeful, formal, and written goal setting has been proven to be more effective in changing or improving behaviors.

A helpful way to accomplish this is by following the SMART goal acronym, reminding us that goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. For the early childhood music teacher, as with any educator, there are goals that will make the classroom more effective. But when that teacher is also the owner of a children’s music studio, there are also goals that regard the business. Each set of goals affects the other and combine to make a successful studio.

Goal Setting for Teachers (of any kind)

For educators, it’s important to always be learning and improving teaching practices. The tasks involved in this endeavor can be quite overwhelming. These simple recommendations may help to reach those goals without losing your mind in the process.

  • Get feedback from your students, parents, supervisors, and/or peers – Often times, what we perceive as needing improvement is unwarranted, while some other areas may not have even occurred to us.
  • Write your SMART goals and remind yourself every day – With the initial chaos that a new teaching period often brings, it’s easy to lose focus on things outside the classroom. Posting goals somewhere to be seen often helps keep you focused.

Goal Setting for the Children’s Music Studio (or any small business)

Managing a classroom is challenging enough without having to run and maintain a successful early childhood music studio. However, it’s important to put on your business owner’s hat and set goals for the studio as well.

  • Go through the same reflection and feedback process – While improvements to the classroom often coincide with business goals, other considerations such as cost or communication outside of the classroom should be considered.
  • Consider the functional areas of the business – As with any size organization, there are major functional areas that also affect small businesses – Management, Production/Operations, Finance/Accounting, and Marketing/Sales. There is a great deal of resources available to help understand and improve these areas.
  • Set growth goals and the marketing tactics to achieve them – Most business owners want to grow, but sustainable growth is paramount to success. Sell it first, then build it is an established business axiom. One shouldn’t hire new teachers without the students, or expand classroom space without the need.
  • Start small and build gradually – Many organizations try to go “too big, too fast,” which is why many small businesses fail within the first few years. Take a tip from the tortoise, slow and steady wins the race.

The new year brings new opportunities and hope for a brighter future. Focusing on fewer, yet specific, goals for the classroom and the early childhood music studio will help to ensure long term success.