There are many reasons why people study and play music. Some love the art of creating distinct sounds that complement the extraordinary beauty of life. Some play for the ones they love and some play for personal enjoyment. Nevertheless, the role of music in learning has never been more important. Why?
With current media and technological saturation, it has become more difficult to connect to reality. Whether it’s texting or actively posting and uploading content to social media, the human experience has been watered down into a dull emulation of the real world. Music, however, breaks us free from the façade of virtual worlds and places us into a world of allegros, staccatos, fortissimos and andantes. Not only is it healthy to take up music, but it also helps you develop academically, physically and mentally.
According to a study from McMaster University in Canada, students who received musical instruction not only had heightened memory skills, but also surpassed their peers in non-musical education such as math and literacy, not to mention they tested with a higher IQ.
Mind you, these studies were conducted on four- and six-year-olds, but does this mean that music only helps people during their developmental stage?
This is not the case, explains a study from the National Association for Music Educators. The study was focused on SAT takers (16-18-year-olds) that had a background in music. Those who had a musical training scored on average 56 points higher on the verbal portion and 39 points higher in the math portion of the SATs, demonstrating that at any age, music helps the mind develop and learn faster than people who have not received musical training.
New data shows that music can also physically help a person who has undergone trauma or is undergoing treatment for diseases; in fact, physicians have coined the term “music therapy” to describe the process of improving one’s health through the power of music. Music therapy has been known to help cancer patients through its combinational use of conventional treatments and has been proven to reduce pain and relieve chemotherapy-induced side-effects.
Music not only does the body good, but the mind as well. It has been proven to relieve stress and give a more positive state of mind to those suffering from anxiety and depression. Listening to and practicing music can activate parts of the brain that help us in different ways. Researchers at McGill University conducted a study that measured the chemical changes of the body when listening to music. Researchers found that those who were exposed to music (listening or practicing), secreted larger amounts of dopamine, the “feel good” chemical within the body. Music has also proven to help people focus and makes remembering things easier due to the fact that musical education stimulates the brain’s short and long term memories.
Not only does musical education help people advance academically, feel physically healthy or develop mentally, but it’s also a way of life. Education is expanding as more people are becoming students of music, more are inclined to take lessons. Whether it be at a local college, university, high school or even online, musical education will always be available to those who wish to expand their minds.