International students will undoubtedly have to overcome some language barriers when they arrive to study in the U.S. They will be able to seek help and practice their language proficiency through their school, peers, and host families, but will enjoy the process more if they are having fun while learning. Finding ways to help your international student get a firm grasp on the culture and language while living in the U.S. can be difficult and take time, so we suggest encouraging them to learn to play an instrument.
Music is a language in itself. Talented musicians devote many hours to learning this language and communicating it with others. During their study of music theory and performance, students learn many beneficial skills that help in both their social and academic lives. In the case of an international student, studying music and learning a new instrument can help them quickly acclimate to the foreign culture, and have an excellent time doing so.
Here are some of the many ways that studying music can help an international student:
English Language Development
Learning to play music with others can help an international student develop language and reasoning skills. Language is communicated by both spoken language and body language, so international students will likely pick up on social cues quicker if they have a musical background.
The study of music helps promote mastery of memorization, a crucial skill when preparing for test taking. Music also encourages students to make use of learning techniques such as acronyms or rhymes to remember certain information.
Studying a craft can teach an international student determination and discipline – two very important traits any successful student possesses.
Playing an instrument requires precise hand-eye coordination. This is particularly important for international students who are not part of a sports or art club.
Setting goals in life is important. An international student has many goals to complete during their stay in the U.S, and learning a new instrument provides a frequent sense of achievement as the student is constantly learning new things.
Achieving goals builds confidence in an individual. International students will likely be shy or timid when first arriving to the U.S. By building confidence throughout their musical journey, international students will break out of their shell more quickly and combat the symptoms of culture shock.
International students will have a higher self-esteem as they progress with their music mastery. It also promotes relaxation, cathartic release, and can be an emotional outlet for frustration.
An international student studying music will also gain empathy and understanding towards other cultures by way through music. A rich and diverse palette of musical influence will help them better understand other cultures outside of their own.
International students can exercise their creativity through music. Some cultures teach only memorization in their schooling, but music tends to blend in equal amounts of creativity in its approach. Figuring out the relationships and harmonies between musical notes can also help an international student become a better problem solver.
International students will construct stronger team building skills by playing music with others. In any environment, the ability to work in harmony is essential.
International students can work on their presenting skills when performing in front of others. This is an important skill to develop before applying for job interviews in the future!
“Ask a CEO what they are looking for in an employee and they say they need people who understand teamwork, people who are disciplined, people who understand the big picture. You know what they need? They need musicians” – Former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee