Show Notes

They say that “patience is a virtue” – but in truth, patience is a skill, one that is deeply embedded in the development of our brains.

Patience is part of our “executive function.”

In an article for hthUnboxed, educator Claire King describes the three characteristics of executive function:

  1. Working memory (how much information we can “hold” at the moment)
  2. Flexible thinking (ability to change based on new information)
  3. Inhibition (ability to respond appropriately to situations)

She also describes how executive function is connected to our brain development: “Neuropsychological tests reveal that individuals with immature frontal lobes or prefrontal cortex damage can display executive function deficits…”

Our ability to practice inhibition – to be “patient” – develops alongside our frontal lobes. When our children are impatient, it’s often because they physically can’t be – they don’t have the neural connections yet!

Music builds those neural connections.

According to researchers David Silbersweig and Samata R. Sharma at the Berklee Music and Health Institute, “Music does not only exert an effect on our brain in the moment that we are hearing or playing it, but also it alters both brain structure and function following early and repeated exposure.” They specifically cite musical training as having an impact on executive function, even in areas not related to music.

When we play music, we are building new neural connections. When our kids play music, they’re accelerating the development of their brains.

Great Songs for Teaching Patience

In this episode, Mike demonstrates how you can help teach your kids patience with Queen’s iconic “We Will Rock You.” But that’s far from the only song you can use!

You can also accelerate your child’s development by signing them up for lessons here at Universal Music Center.

Episode Transcript

Hello and welcome to “Music for Life Skills.” My name is Mike Arturi and I am the founder and executive director of Universal Music Center, and we are Red Wing Minnesota’s original non-profit music education organization. Today we’re going to be talking about patience, and we’re going to talk about using some musical exercises to increase and enhance patience.

Today’s Topic: Learning Patience

Now all you’ll need to do for this is to pick out a couple of easy songs that incorporate the important elements of not only an easy lyric and something that will be quick and easy to internalize, but also a call to action—something that you have to do with your body along with the song.

So, that beat from “We Will Rock You,” [stomps once, claps once, stomps once, claps once] that’s not how that goes. It goes like this: [stomps a quarter note, claps a quarter note, stomps two eighth notes, claps a quarter note]

So tiny little difference, but that’s what you want to focus on. You want to learn to do these properly.

So the reason this works is that this requires patience to learn the lyrics and requires patience to learn when you’re supposed to clap, you know, and putting it all together to make it flow. And the important part about this being fun and being musical is that fun and that musical aspect of it pulls you through these repetitions, you know? It doesn’t make them so boring and you feel like you’re achieving something.

So that’s why this music and these ideas of these various songs are important: because the patience required to learn them and to do the repetitions is what’s needed to get to the end result—the proper end result. And the proper end result is always more fun than kind of a sloppy version or a kind of a version that’s almost like it.

Stomp, clap, stomp stomp, clap. [continues stomping and clapping] We will, we will rock you.

We will rock you!