By Melody Young
Music is only for those who are musically talented, or is it? In his book “Arts with the Brain in Mind,” Eric Jensen, an author who researches brain-based learning, said, “Music is part of our biological heritage and is hard-wired into our genes as a survival strategy.”
Music is something everyone feels a connection to, but people are often afraid to actively pursue that connection and instead settle for passive appreciation of music. They argue that they do not have the talent required to succeed in music. They focus on this misconception and miss one of the important aspects of learning how to create music: holistic self-improvement.
As a musician, I never realized what a significant difference knowing how to play an instrument makes in one’s life until I researched the benefits of music education.
Learning an instrument may seem like an extra weight to the load of school because of the time needed to practice, but it can actually help manage the stress of the workload.
“During moments of musical euphoria, blood travels through the brain to areas where other stimuli can produce feelings of contentment and joy-and travels away from brain cell areas associated with depression and fear,” professor and chair of Music Therapy at Michigan State University Dr. Frederick Tims said in a 1999 AMC Music News report.
Not only does music education address emotional needs, but it also improves cognitive learning. Neurological research from two professors from the University of California, Irvine, found that music training developed higher brain functions useful for mathematics, engineering, other fields of science, and chess.
Maybe the common perception that musicians are geniuses is all reversed. Rather than the genius picking up music, the music made the genius.
In fact, according to the 2002 Music Educators National Conference compilation of the College Board’s profiles of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, “students involved in public school music programs scored 107 points higher on the SAT’s than students with no participation.”
No matter how daunting learning an instrument may seem, everyone should give it a try, if not for finding a lifelong friend in music then for improving one’s grades.
I encourage my fellow students to take a music class whether as the required arts elective or as an extracurricular outside of school and see how far music will take them.