Humor, Fun and Play

Why is play important? It stimulates creativity, reduces stress, increases a sense of well being, provides social engagement and a positive outlook for the future.1  It gives you a way to step away from reality to enter into your creativity. This is personal for me because I have to constantly remind myself to take time for fun. It’s really easy for me to dive into work and not surface until bedtime. My students and my cats do their best to remind me to have fun!

It is just as important for adults as it is for children to have fun.2  When one enters into the experience of fun, play and the creative state of mind, it is another way to experience flow. However, this method of entering flow, for some of us can be elusive. Personally, I am pretty sensitive, prone to being introverted and I’m what has been described as being very serious. I think this is a nice way of saying I’m not always “fun.” As frustrating as this can be, I have found that focusing on a creative project and trying not to spend too much time, for instance, reading the news, helps lighten my mood. When I’m in a better mood, I feel more creative. When I am more creative, I feel more light hearted and excited about the future. Before I know it, I’m having fun. When I’m having fun, my introverted tendencies lessen and I seek more connection with friends and family. Your process may be, and probably is different from mine. How do you experience fun and play in your life?

As a registered Suzuki teacher, I have spent many years and have taken many courses and workshops about how to teach violin students utilizing fun and games. The basis of the step by step Suzuki method is the embedding of game play with activities that develop focus, musicianship, social engagement, and all of the skills necessary for performing music. It is really quite amazing how such a high level and creative human activity, in my case violin playing, can be taught by playing games.

I did not grow up Suzuki but there were definitely aspects of the Suzuki method in my early violin training. My older sister was my first violin teacher. She took violin lessons, created a positive environment conducive to my learning the violin, and she taught me the basics of how to hold the violin and bow and read music. I don’t really even remember the time in between holding the violin for the first time and arriving at my first lesson with a professional violin teacher. I already could play at an intermediate level. This is always what I hope my students will experience. Before you know it, you can play the violin. All along, you thought you were just playing some games and having fun.

Perhaps you can examine how you enter into a state of fun and game play. What is your version of having fun? Do you enjoy games and team sports? Do you enjoy being out in nature and playing with animals? Do you enjoy creative projects such as cooking and arts and crafts? The experts say that “unstructured play… is most important for the beneficial effects on the prefrontal cortex.” It is “something that comes so naturally to large-brained mammals (and birds, according to some authorities).”3. So practice your instrument, attend to your daily chores, eat healthy, pay your bills, get enough sleep, and remember to have some fun!

  1. Lawrence Robinson, Melinda Smith, Jeanne Segal, Jennifer Shubin. ‘The benefits of play for adults’ (2020). helpguide.org. (Accessed: February 14, 2021).
  2. Lawrence Robinson, Melinda Smith, Jeanne Segal, Jennifer Shubin. ‘The benefits of play for adults’ (2020). helpguide.org. (Accessed: February 14, 2021).
  3. Marc Bekoff. ‘The Importance of Play: Having Fun Must Be Taken Seriously’ (2014). psychologytoday.com. (Accessed: February 14, 2021).
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