The Impact of Music

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Music can be heard from headphones, television commercials, blaring car speakers; it echoes throughout department stores, elevators, hospitals, and even in classrooms. Obviously we live in a very musically active culture where most every activity that we do is accompanied by some essence of music. Although the topic of “music” can be rather broad, this paper will focus on the way an individual should interact with music and will feature the benefits music can have overall. These benefits will validate why music programs should not be cut during the nations’ budget crisis, but rather supported and funded even further. The act of participating in music has almost completely dissolved. Although some people listen to music while sitting behind the steering wheel of their vehicle, they are hardly interacting with music as it was originally intended. Martin Luther wrote some of the first Protestant hymn books so congregations would not simply plop into a pew and listen to monks sing ancient spiritual chants. He felt that the individual would have a deeper experience, physically and spiritually, if they participated in the singing themselves. Although this belief was viewed as sacrilegious during that time, it is a practice that almost every modern American church currently follows. Outside of a church however, many Americans have strayed away from this “interactive” musical experience. Although many Americans participated in a chorus or band while in school, the majority of society has slowly become removed from these musical participation groups as they exit school and grow older. As we grow older and music is no longer a part of an everyday class, it is often only accessible by taking specific lessons at specific times with a specialist. We do not want to give our children the impression that only a few can participate in music (Jones, 44). Before the invention of the telephone, many families would gather together and create music as their main form of entertainment. Grandparents can tell stories of the entire family gathering around to listen to each other practice the piano or to listen to large groups singing songs together at parties. Although our society has changed how it values music, it is certainly worth evaluating the role music should play in the raising of children and the benefits it has when used in an educational setting. Music used to be a main focus of families and schools, and it would be ignorant to change such a trend that had such a positive effect. The “Mozart effect,” according to Roberta Hershenson in her article titled Debating the Mozart Theory, is “the theory that classical music makes the brain work better (1).” Neuroscientists continue to search for reasons why the mental and physical components required for the arts are so fundamental to brain function (Sousa, 1). It is only logical that the earlier we implement the ideas of music and art into children, the more developed they will become. Warren Puffer Jones, in his article Music, The Brain, and Education, put it this way: “Just as a child can become bilingual, children can become fluent in many styles of music if they hear enough different styles early on (4).” The physiological growth of the early years of the brain is much stronger, so “artsy” activities that children naturally do such as singing, drawing, and dancing have a more dramatic effect on the child’s brain development than in an adult’s brain. These activities engage all the senses and wire the brain for successful learning (Sousa, 2). When children start school, these activities need to continue so as to continue the development their brain is undergoing. As children partake in such activities, the brain areas are developed. Sousa also stated that, “The arts are not just expressive and affective, they are deeply cognitive (2).” However, we cannot simply play music to children without wanting to see the results. A very clear display of this enhanced brain development can be seen...
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