In teaching young people to play violin and ocarina, I see them also learning skills that help them in their studies, life and work. Many of these skills are the same ones that can help couples preparing to get married to enjoy a healthy, happy relationship over the years.

Through music instruction, students learn discipline, patience, problem-solving skills, confidence and responsibility, among other valuable lessons. These character traits are developed through repetition, as students slow down and focus on playing each note correctly.

In a world bombarded by fast-paced and often dubious media messages touting instant gratification, music can help people slow down and focus on the long-term. These skills are important for those entering into the commitment of marriage.

Whether a couple decides to learn a musical instrument together or one partner wants to pick up an instrument, learning to play offers many life skills that can help make for a happy marriage. These include:

? Patience: Learning music is a lot like learning a language. When a child learns a language they may have to hear a word a thousand times before they start saying it. In learning music, students begin to understand that good things take time, work and practice. This helps develop the patience that is so important in marriage and family life.

? Problem-solving: Learning to play a passage of music requires the learner to break things down into manageable pieces. This skill is necessary for learning anything in life. Students who learn the satisfaction that comes from working through the difficult passages and mastering them will better understand how to focus on one issue at a time in a marriage.

? Persistence: Music students have a tendency to want to move on to the next part if they have played a section correctly once, even if they played it wrong multiple times beforehand. Instead, we teach them to practice until they get it right and then to keep practicing it correctly over and over again. Students who take music lessons learn the importance of commitment and not giving up in the face of challenges.

? Communication: Learning music requires students to develop good listening skills. The student must not only listen carefully to the teacher’s instructions, but also to hear the nuance of how a particular piece of music sounds. Developing this kind of sensitivity can help a person to really listen to and communicate with their partner.

Couples preparing to get married may want to try learning a musical instrument together. What a great way to spend time together, laughing, learning and helping each other!

While some couples might choose to take formal lessons together, others may want to take advantage of instruments that they can learn on their own and together without the help of a teacher. For these couples, the ocarina is a great choice.

The ocarina is a pocket-sized wind instrument made of clay or plastic that is played by blowing into a hollow chamber and fingering holes to create notes. They are very easy to learn to play and have a soothing, intriguing tone that sounds good even in the hands of a beginner.

Ocarinas are generally inexpensive, highly portable and come in many intriguing shapes and colors. There is even a model that doubles as a teacup that we call the Teacarina that could make a wonderful wedding gift or favor. With the help of instruction books provided with the instruments, ocarinas provide a wonderful way to make music and share the joy of learning together.

Author's Bio: 

Laura Yeh is a performer and music educator trained in the Suzuki method of instruction who teaches violin and ocarina at the St. Louis School of Music to children as young as 3 and adults. Laura and her husband Dennis have collaborated with ocarina makers around the world to produce new models of the ocarina, an easy-to-learn wind instrument with ancient roots. They have designed and produced many unique and innovative ocarinas sold by STL Ocarina (