Sports and Music

My handsome husband Bryan played 3 sports and sang in choir in high school.

I just read an amazing article on how a mother used music to help her children do better in Sports.

You can read the full article here HOMEWORK the byline is – Mothers share how they apply at home what they learned at BYU. The whole article is full of really great ideas, but I share an excerpt because it goes along with our topic of late.

Violinists on the Line

Sheri Sifford Denney (BS ’73), Thornton, Colo.

A chapel full of young men and women watch as the large hands of BYU defensive end Brett R. Denney (BS ’09) bow the strains of “Nearer, My God, to Thee” on his violin at a football fireside. They have no idea that they owe this beautiful music to a psychology paper written by his mother in 1973 at BYU.

A law-enforcement major with minors in psychology and sociology, Sheri Denney was fascinated by the relationship between the left and right hemispheres of the brain and wrote about the topic for a psychology class. She learned in her research that strengthening the right side of the brain through artistic endeavors, such as learning to play a musical instrument, had been linked to academic and athletic success.

Years later, when her oldest child was 8, Denney decided to apply this theory to her family. From that point on the Denney children always took music lessons, even through their busy high school years. They didn’t have much choice. “It was a rule in our house,” Denney says. “If the kids wanted to play sports, they also had to be taking private music lessons.”

Each of her children chose to pursue both music and athletics, and each had notable success. “Kimberley (’05), the oldest, was the family’s first all-stater—in orchestra, playing her violin,” Denney says. Ryan (BS ’01), John (BS ’04), and Brett made all-state football teams and played on BYU’s defensive line. Ryan and John now play in the NFL.

Denney’s husband, Craig (BS ’74), was skeptical at first, especially during the early, less-than-musical years of scratchy violins. But as the children excelled in music, school, and athletics, he came around. Now when people ask him the secret to raising successful athletes, he tells them, “Make them play the violin.”

From the article – Homework By Whitney Singley Archibald, in the BYU Alumni Magazine, Spring 2010.


2 thoughts on “Sports and Music”

  1. I have to say, I’m not a big fan of school sports. I’m hoping that James will choose choir over football.

  2. I hear you there! But I married into sports, and we’re hoping that the kids get his athletic ability and not mine! 😉

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