Welcome to 31 Days of Homemade Music! Today we will be continuing to make a case for why anyone can benefit from studying music. To find other posts in this series, click here.
Ever wondered if music is just as effective a brain developer as, say, math or science? If you remember my post from yesterday, I won’t have to remind you of a statement that the beloved District band director made- “Musical success is academic success.” I couldn’t agree more with him.
How, you ask? Let me share a few music educator’s graphics that sum up the main ideas, then we will discuss them. Let’s start with one from PMEA:
Music can be compared to a science, though it is unlikely that the same results will ever be duplicated twice- and that’s how it remains an art. Music is definitely a mathematical animal, though I still think that trigonometry is harder than subdividing beats in music. (But maybe it just depends on your area of experience!) Reading music, of course, can be compared to reading another language. Performing music does require a fair amount of exact (and sometimes demanding) physical skill, but it cannot replace cardio exercise.
Music, most assuredly, is not a substitute for any of the above disciplines, but it does contain elements of each. That’s the beauty of the art form- it crosses into so many realms of study that it can be beneficial to each area while still remaining valuable in and of itself.
Next up- Here’s a graphic from Kid’s Music Company exploring more benefits of studying music:
I think this one speaks for itself fairly well, though I would add that of course music in and of itself offers things to learn- one does not only learn other subject material through songs. That would be like saying that a child only learns his ABCs through the famed ditty, but didn’t learn how to sing the melody or the rhythms properly. Of course, the ABC singer learned both, and so it is with all music.
Want to learn more about how music affects the brain? Here’s an excerpt from Psychology Today talking about how musical training optimizes brain function:
“Three Brain Benefits of Musical Training:
Musicians have an enhanced ability to integrate sensory information from hearing, touch, and sight.
The age at which musical training begins affects brain anatomy as an adult; beginning training before the age of seven has the greatest impact.
Brain circuits involved in musical improvisation are shaped by systematic training, leading to less reliance on working memory and more extensive connectivity within the brain.
‘Music might provide an alternative access into a broken or dysfunctional system within the brain,’ said Schlaug. Adding, ‘Music has the unique ability to go through alternative channels and connect different sections of the brain.'”
Good stuff. May I add that, besides brain development, interdisciplinary connections, and artistic skill, music also is a wonderful tool for social development? It’s awfully hard to play music with someone when you have a grudge between the two of you. Somehow, music seems to do two things:
1) Soften the hard hearts of an ensemble group once they begin to play together, and 2) Help people learn how to work together with others more effectively. In music, you all have your part- sometimes you’re the forefront and sometimes you’re not- but you all work together to try to make it the best that it can be. The collaborative effort it takes to perform in a group is enormous, and can develop social skills in young people and adults alike.
Last, I’ll leave you with this free printable graphic from Music Bulletin Boards. Think about what types of skills you develop with regular practicing of these various tasks!
Are you getting ready to enjoy your own “musical treats” in your own home? (Okay, I know, I’m getting corny… or cheesy… or “ice creamy…” Groaaaaaaan….) Tomorrow we are going to talk about the value of exposing our kids to deeper music- and then soon- I promise, it’s soon!- we will start looking at practical ways to begin introducing more music into your home.