After listening to a segment on NPR about generation “iGen” I couldn’t help but think about the role music plays in mental health. iGen refers to children born in the mid 1990’s or later and is the first generation to spend their entire adolescence in the age of the smartphone. Most of our young students at Guitar Shed fall into this age range and are doing great things to not succumb to the pitfalls of their generation. They are playing music!
You know what is great about music lessons? During a lesson we are playing music, and if we do use our phones (which is very rare) it is for a tuner or a metronome…not Snapchat or Instagram. Students and teachers are developing a relationship in the real world without distractions.
Music lessons also get people out of the house! There is a reason we don’t do in-home lessons or online lessons at Guitar Shed. Community. We see all of our students and families every week and watch them grow with each performance. We know about their struggles and victories, encouraging them every step of the way.
Studies show that teenagers in iGen are much physically safer, but on the brink of a mental health crisis. Some of the negative impacts that have been linked to too much screen time are loneliness, depression, isolation, sleep deprivation, increased suicide attempts, lack of focus… the list goes on.
An article about iGen in the Atlantic gives the following advice…. “Put down the phone, turn off the laptop, and do something—anything—that does not involve a screen.” Although iGen is the target of this discussion, we adults are not immune either. There are countless benefits to playing and learning an instrument, but now we all need music more than ever.