Types of Hobbies and Their Significance During Childhood

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About this sample


Words: 1176 |

Pages: 3|

6 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Words: 1176|Pages: 3|6 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Music Hobbies in Childhood Development
  3. The Invaluable Nature of Music Learning
  4. Importance of Hobbies in Child's Lives
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works Cited


Richard W. Riley, Former U.S. Secretary of Education, once said “[art] education in music, theater, dance, and the visual arts is one of the most creative ways we have to find the gold that is buried beneath the surface. They (children) have an enthusiasm for life, a spark of creativity, and vivid imaginations that need training… training that prepares them to become confident young men and women.” In “Stop Forcing Your Kids to Learn a Musical Instrument” author Mark Oppenheimer seems to believe there is “no special virtue in knowing how to play” (129) a musical instrument or learning ballet, and that neither adds value to society as people enter into adulthood. With that said, I do not agree with his views on the arts being hobbies that are no longer necessary or invaluable, and that hobbies provide nothing more than just entertainment or enjoyment. Different types of hobbies, such as learning a musical instrument, have numerous benefits that contribute to personal growth and development beyond mere entertainment.

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Music Hobbies in Childhood Development

According to Oppenheimer, learning a musical instrument is no longer necessary in today’s society. For instance, Oppenheimer states in “Stop Forcing Your Kids to Learn a Musical Instrument” that “[people] just need to sign [their children] up for classes that make more sense” (129) because this is not the eighteenth century, so “[he does not] need a violin-playing daughter to cement [his] class status” (129). In the 1800s, having a piano inside the home is what primarily brought status to families. Once pianos started being made in other countries and “made by machine” (128) the price of instruments dropped, which in turn made them more affordable for lower and middle-class families. With the price of instruments being lowered and financing options becoming available, pianos became a status symbol for many families who were once unable to afford them while learning to play these instruments became a burden for young girls.

Oppenheimer is correct in stating that he does not need his daughter to bring any sort of status to his family by playing an instrument, however, I do not agree that learning to play an instrument is unnecessary or that parents should sign their children up for other activities that “make more sense” (129). Learning to play a musical instrument has several benefits and one could argue that it makes just as much sense as it does for children who are involved in other activities such as baseball or dance. For example, learning to play a musical instrument is said to improve reading and math skills, enhance coordination, develop social skills, and expose children to new cultures. With that said, research shows that children involved in physical activities can develop similar skills as children learning to play an instrument. As a result, the aforementioned reasons should not be a parent’s primary justification for signing their child up to learn a musical instrument or participate in any activity in general. Although parents can sign their children up for activities that “make more sense” (129), playing a musical instrument is not unnecessary as it serves as an option for children who do not want to participate in a physical activity.

The Invaluable Nature of Music Learning

In addition to Oppenheimer thinking that learning to play a musical instrument is unnecessary, he also considers learning to play an instrument as invaluable. Oppenheimer states in his article that children should “find pursuits, whether useful or not, that they can take with them into adulthood” (130). He believes that parents should have their children learn more meaningful tasks like how to sew or how to change the oil in a vehicle instead of signing their children up for music lessons. In short, Oppenheimer thinks that unless a child has a “special gift” (129) for a musical instrument “there is no special virtue in knowing how to play” (129), and that children can gain similar lessons from participating in other activities.

For this reason, I disagree with Oppenheimer’s stance because how can society determine value or virtue for an individual? Furthermore, I do not believe that parents can determine if their child has a “special gift” (129) for a musical instrument if they are not given the opportunity to learn how to play. I am of the belief that talent is a small portion of what makes a person gifted. More significantly is the amount of hard work and effort they are willing to put toward their craft. Although not all children who grow up playing a musical instrument become musicians, they will likely remember the lessons learned and joy experienced when playing and performing for others. Whether a child is learning to play music or change the oil in a car, the personal virtue they receive out of that activity is individual to them. As a result, there is some importance and intrinsic value in learning to play a musical instrument.

Importance of Hobbies in Child's Lives

Finally, Oppenheimer also believes that music should not be pushed upon children and that hobbies such as music are more for entertainment and less about learning. In brief, Oppenheimer states that “[h]obbies are all the better for having no point beyond the fun they provide” (126). However, in the same paragraph he states that his daughter, Rebekah, “enjoys her violin and ballet classes” (126) and when she performs well she is proud of herself, which Oppenheimer states “that’s good enough for [him]” (126). In other words, Oppenheimer shows that his daughter has gained confidence from music thus proving that music can be used for learning purposes.

For this purpose, I do not agree with Oppenheimer’s views on hobbies being more about entertainment and less about learning. Children have the ability to learn and grow from everything they do. Hobbies help spark brain development, build new skills, and provide socialization opportunities. For example, some parents believe that playtime is unnecessary or just for fun, but research shows that playtime is an important part of a child’s early development. Like playtime, music has been proven to help improve children’s brain development as well as enhance their communication skills. Whether a child is learning to play a sport or participating in performing arts, hobbies can teach them sportsmanship, patience, and self-discipline as well as encourage creativity, goal-setting, and decision-making which are all healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

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There is no denying the fact that Oppenheimer has strong opinions on whether children should learn a musical instrument. It is evident that he believes that parents in today’s society should have their children participate in hobbies that will provide more meaningful value to their life. However, I believe that learning music can be a great childhood hobby from which children can gain significant skills that aide in their development. Despite a child’s age, parents should guide their children toward participating in hobbies and activities that capture their interest and ignite their creativity.

Works Cited

  1. Oppenheimer, Mark. 'Stop Forcing Your Kids to Learn a Musical Instrument.' The New York Times, 9 Nov. 2013, pp. 126-130.
  2. Riley, Richard W. Speech at the 1999 National Arts Awards, 4 Oct. 1999.
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Types of Hobbies and Their Significance During Childhood. (2023, August 04). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 19, 2024, from
“Types of Hobbies and Their Significance During Childhood.” GradesFixer, 04 Aug. 2023,
Types of Hobbies and Their Significance During Childhood. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 Apr. 2024].
Types of Hobbies and Their Significance During Childhood [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 04 [cited 2024 Apr 19]. Available from:
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