Amarah's Corner: Music makes the soul happier, brain stronger

Hi! My name is Amarah. Kids are important to me, and they’re important to Jesus, too.

In Matthew 18:10 (KJV), Jesus said, “Take heed that ye despise not (hurt or be mean to) one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”

“Kids like me” are kids whose parents are drug addicts, and alcoholics; kids who have suffered, or who are suffering, abuse and neglect on multiple levels; and kids who are victims of bullying.

Hey kids like me! I want to share an awesome note I received about something that means a whole lot to me:

Dear Amarah: This is just a note to let you know we appreciate your weekly newspaper article and want to encourage you to keep up the good work. We appreciate that you advocate for “kids like you” for there are many. As a retired music teacher I have been troubled by seeing students of addicts and wished I could help. Your article March 2nd about the importance of music to self-esteem was especially good and touched close to home for me. I just wish more people could see that from a music teacher’s point of view. Thank you for writing about the importance of music in school. So many times, I’d see eyes light up when we’d begin singing - a great release for little ones. I am enclosing a little money for your Bibles for these children as it is such a worthy project. I pray that your diligence and caring heart will continue to bless this community. Thank you for the dedication to this cause and may God bless you.

When I was a kid I loved the trumpet and I knew I had to play one! Mr. Mark Garberich was band director at Alamosa Elementary. He encouraged me and really seemed to care. Mr. Garberich said my sound was a treasure. I’ll never forget his words to me.

I felt like some of the weight on my shoulders was gone when I played my trumpet. Playing the trumpet was like being in Heaven! But, in middle school they told me I couldn’t be in band because my grades weren’t good enough. I know now it wasn’t my fault, but I felt like it was my fault. I discovered that parental drug use, and associated abuse/neglect, affected my ability to process things in the spatial area of my brain in subjects like math, and in testing. But, all I knew was they took away the one thing that was saving my life. I cried all the time and I lost the passion because they wouldn’t let me play.

But look at this! There is strong evidence that playing a musical instrument can positively impact a kid’s brain. Several studies, including a study by Alban (2013), How Music Affects the Brain for the Better, shows that music makes you smarter and happier.

According to this study, music and math are highly connected and children with musical training do better in subjects like language, reading, and math in the following ways:

* Builds self-esteem

* Encourages concentration

* Increase in IQ

* Improves coordination

* Boosts memory

* Improves reading skills

* Increases vocabulary

* Imparts joy

* Encourages love of learning

* Expression of creativity

* Social benefits

* Improved test scores

I believe schools need to stop shutting kids out of band and/or sports, especially if that kid’s home environment includes substance abuse because that passion is that kid’s lifeline. Shutting them out only makes their grades get worse and can permanently damage and lower their self-esteem to the point they think they’re nothing. Because once they take the passion away they also take the talent away because the kid thinks he/she is worthless.


Thank you for reading my column. Please send questions or comments to me in care of the Courier, [email protected] or write to me at Amarah’s Childrens Foundation “Kids Like Me” P.O. Box 354, Alamosa, CO 81101, or call (719) 937-1033, leave a message, and someone will return your call. If you know a kid like me, or parent who is an addict, or alcoholic, please tell him or her about “Amarah’s Corner, Kids Like Me” in the Valley Courier newspaper and tell them to contact me, or you can contact me on their behalf. And, if you know a kid like me, or parent, who does not have a Bible, but would like to have one, please, contact me and I will make sure he or she gets a Bible of their very own, “…and all the earth may know there is a God…” (1 Samuel 17:46, KJV).

My goal is to help kids like me, and I want to help their parents, too. Until next time, remember, Jesus Loves You, and JESUS IS LORD!