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Why is Music Important?

Updated on January 1, 2019
Reginald Thomas profile image

This author has been an educator, conductor, and trombonist for the past 40 years. His experience qualifies him as an expert in this field.

Why is Music Important?

There is not a day that we don't experience some type of music. We have learned to rely on music as a special time to listen to the radio, iPhone or singing in a choir. Music is definitely part of our lives. How do we answer the question: Why is Music Important? Read on and discover five areas that answer this question.

Music and the human brain
Music and the human brain | Source

Brain Development

Music enhances learning and makes it more enjoyable. It is scientifically proven that music enhances brain functioning. Playing music uses many brain functions simultaneously; motor control, imagination, hearing, sight, memory etc....

Music plays a big part when it comes to the development of the brain. Years ago, science was telling us that musicians and composers were said to be using the right side of their brain. Recently, research studies have shown that music is distributed throughout the brain.

One of the scientific research studies taken in 2008, showed that a young student taking instrumental music for three years improved academically over a student not studying an instrument. The areas of improvement were in auditory discrimination, fine motor skills, vocabulary and nonverbal reasoning.

Music and Learning

Music improves learning and makes it more enjoyable. A scientific test taken in 2008, found that a young person taking three years of instrumental music improved over the non-musicians in the areas of auditory discrimination, fine motor skills, vocabulary, and non-verbal reasoning.

Brain Functions Used Simultaneously by Musicians

  • Motor Control
  • Memory
  • Imagination
  • Hearing
  • Sight

As an example of motor control, the young person learning the Clarinet, needs to know how to hold the instrument, where to put the fingers on the instrument thus, improving hand and finger dexterity. The Clarinet is a wind Instrument, therefore the proper embouchure (formation of the mouth) is necessary. Along with these two skills to develop, the beginning player will learn the proper breathing techniques.

The same student will learn a ”second language”, called “music notation.” Memory comes into play every time we look at a page of music.

Next is hearing. The ability to develop the most important requisite for playing a musical instrument is called tone. The instrumentalist must be able to hear and produce a good pleasant tone on that instrument. As we develop our skills in hearing the instrumentalist will be able to distinguish between his or her instrument and other instruments playing at the same time.

A very good article - What is The Difference Between Hearing and LIstening is worth reading. It contains some great information about how to listen to music.


Music is the Universal Language!

Music and Your Mood

It is fascinating to think about how music has the power to change our mood. Music can make us feel strong emotions. By looking at a few basic elements - Rhythm, Melody, and Harmony, we can see how are mood might change.

Fast rhythms help produce energy, excitement, and connects to the heart. Therefore, fast music can increase your heart rate. Slow rhythms on the other hand might contribute to a more sad or depressing mood.

Tonality, which is part of the element of music called Harmony, has a special way to health change your mood. Major keys are heard as brighter sounds and equates to “happy“, whereas minor keys sound darker and refer to “sad“.

There are three special neurotransmitters in the brain that contribute to the mood changes in human body.

  • Dopamine - neurotransmitter that regulates mood and craving behavior. This is one of the reasons why music brings us pleasure.
  • Serotonin - usually associated with the intestinal tract, blood platelets, and central nervous system. It is also associated with the feelings of well-being, body temperature, hunger, learning, and happiness.
  • Endorphin's - another chemical released into the body that gives a person a happy state of mind.

Many patients suffering from Alzheimer’s have benefited greatly by listening to music. Not all music, but music they listened to early in their life. Caretakers have compiled special music play lists for the patients. In most cases patients that are noticeably sad, standoffish, and lethargic, respond almost immediately upon hearing their “blasts from the past”. The music brings back memories!


If music was a drug, it would be marketable.

Dr. Catharine Meads

Music and Health

When referring to the question of Why Is Music Important, the subject of health is sure to come up. Many cultures worldwide use music to assist in physical healing. Music is used to set the ambience during massage between the masseuse and client. Intense physical therapy also uses soft, relaxing music to help the patient feel more relaxed during sessions.

One of the most popular health benefits of music is with exercising. Listening to your favorite tunes why you are at the gym helps give the person heightened energy.

Everyone has experience stress in their lives. Stress levels are different from person-to-person. One of the hormones released into the body when someone is ‘stressed’ is called Cortisol. This hormone is not good for the body and has a direct linkage to other health issues such as: memory, weight gain, concentration, and depression. Music helps lower Cortisol levels, ultimately helping reduce stress.


Live Music Makes Memories!

Source

Music Makes Memories!

One of the greatest things that we can take from music is that “Music Makes Memories”. Music has the power of bringing people together. Just last year I was in attendance at a concert by Chicago. One of my favorite groups and apparently they were a favorite of the thousands of other people there also. What a great show that was.

Conducting a symphonic band in a performance of Shostakovich,Tchaikovsky, and Bernstein, brings back great memories of an incredible performance years ago. Memories that will stay with you for a life time.


In Closing

Music has evolved over hundreds of years into the most amazing art form. We simply take for granted what is currently available through the popular idiom. But, if we were to investigate and delve into unfamiliar genres we might discover new and exciting music to listen to. I hope this answers the question of “Why is Music Important?”.


© 2018 Reginald Thomas

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