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Martial Arts and Music

 I remember a few years ago I was having a conversation with one of my adult students about martial arts and music.  I always looked forward to my conversations with this student because she happened to be a fabulous Montessori teacher and founded what ended up being one of the biggest Montessori schools here in San Diego.  So she was this wealth of knowledge and it was such a privilege for me to be able to "pick her brain" from time to time.

Going back to the conversation, she observed that music and martial arts work really well together because they both required the same type of focus.  I have practiced martial arts for almost ten years so this is an opinion I have had for a long time but it surprised me to hear it coming from someone else.

Both music and martial arts revolve around the idea of a focused body and mind.  Teaching an extremely young student how to keep their instrument in place for one Twinkle is more mental training rather than physical.  Holding a light instrument takes very little muscle.  Staying in one place while focusing on a single point is difficult.  In essence, it is a standing meditation.  The student must learn to calm their minds in order to be successful at the task.

This is why I often recommend that parents of music students look into martial arts for their kids, especially if the child has a difficult time sitting still.  A subject is explored more deeply if it can be examined from multiple angles.  For example, if learning about a historical time period, the art explores a different facet of the culture than, say, the literature.

Even though the child may not recognize it, what's important is that there is crossover.  Learning is not about the huge breakthroughs.  Rather, it's the thousands of little lessons that chip away and mold who we are.


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