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Music, and the Extensive Benefits of Training

Northwest School of Music Violin Player

Contributed by Mallory Livingston, Instructor of Piano & Voice

 

Art is an intricate part of humanity that is essential to mental, emotional and developmental

welfare, and when absent, devalues and destroys the pieces that collectively brings us together as

mankind. This is visible by studying neuroscience, biology, sociology, psychology, and human interaction,

as well as a plethora of other subjects. A particular art form known to us as Music, has such an

extraordinary effect upon the brain that by restoring the importance of Music in our culture, the effects

would be astonishing; unlocking a perspective on reality yet to be conceptualized in its full extent with

improved cognitive ability, memory, amity, and collaboration, and it would be evident immediately as

well as continuously progressing.

 

When one learns to play musical instruments some other benefits include an increase in

memory capacity, a refining of time management and organizational skills, enhanced coordination, an

increase in mathematical ability, stress relief, and a healthy fostering of self-expression. It has been

shown that learning a musical instrument can assist in an increased IQ by an average of seven points

with larger strengths in parts of the brain that control hearing, memory and coordination, as well as

keeping many other areas of the bran active (Davis, Lauren). A group of adults, with an age range of 65-

80 were tested, and those with musical backgrounds consisting of at least an hour a day for the majority

of their life were shown to have better scores on word recall, non-verbal memory, and cognitive

flexibility. Thus showing that the positive benefits of musical training can further enhance to the quality

of life even at a more elderly age; consequently shedding light on the importance of adequate study.

 

Music has also been shown to contribute to the learning of foreign languages as well as

perceiving and understanding the emotions to others. According to Davis, this is due to “the fact that

learning an instrument requires you to learn about tones and scores which increases your ability to store

audio information. Therefore it becomes easier to pick up other languages and have a better verbal

memory in your own language.” Davis goes on to explain that “parts of your brain that control motor

skills actually grow and become more active. By reading musical notes on a page, your brain must

convert that note into specific motor patterns while also controlling breathing and rhythm as well. Also

for most instruments, you have to be able to have your fingers and/or limbs each performing different

tasks simultaneously.” Instrumental training requires remarkable dedication and intellect. One cannot

simply play, but must go through the process of learning, in turn, strengthening both physical and

mental stimulation. There have been many studies on music’s effect on school work, social interactions,

and behavior (La Voie JC) showing the many positive outcomes. While Brown’s study was being

conducted, one finding found that children as young as 15 months showed significant signs of

improvement when they were involved in music programs. On average, children’s IQ increased by three

points more than non-musically trained children after one year of study, and students in elementary

schools with well-rounded, superior music programs scored on average 22% higher on English test

scores and 20% higher on math test scores, regardless of the school district. Children with musical

training show “music instruction has improved sound discrimination and fine motor tasks,” as well as

these musical skills coming into handy when “solving multistep problems one would encounter in

architecture, engineering, math, art, gaming, and especially working with computers” (Brown, Laura).

 

Music is also good for general health. Music can act as a form of therapy, reducing blood

pressure, assisting in Attention Deficit Disorder, insomnia and depression. Not to mention the physical

exercise. For example, 90 minutes of drumming can burn up to 500 calories (Davis). Music also requires

discipline, responsibility and perseverance as well as patience and focus. Children learn many skills and

principals that can carry over to other subjects and in general better there life. Preparing children and

adolescence with musical training better prepares them for the future to come in almost all aspects of

learning.

 

Hence, with all of the obvious benefits of music study and practice, what is holding you back

from bettering your life as well? Who is to say that you are, or are not, a musician. You are a human,

therefore, you should Music.

 

Bibliography

Brown, Laura Lewis. “The Benefits of Music Education.” PBS.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2014.

Cole, Diane. “Your Aging Brain Will Be in Better Shape If You’ve Taken Music Lessons.” National

Geographic. N.p., 3 Jan. 2014. Web. 22 Nov. 2014.

Davis, Lauren. “10 Good Reasons To Learn A Musical Instrument (It’s Not Too Late!).” WXRT. N.p., 5 Nov.

2013. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

George Hicks. “CommonHealth.” CommonHealth RSS. George Hicks, 17 July 2014. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.

La Voie JC, Collins BR. Effect of youth culture music on high school students’ academic performance. J

Youth Adolesc.1975;4 (1):57– 65, Accessed December 4, 2014.

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