Music is a universally loved aspect of life. Whether it’s death metal, gangster rap or classical orchestra, we all love some kind of music. It seems like some people can’t do anything without at least some music in the background, and they will always say that they focus more, run faster, lift more and think clearer with music on. These statements might just seem like excuses to listen to music all of the time, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but actually, these people are, sort of, right.
There have been numerous studies conducted on the subject, and music actually has numerous benefits over the course of life, from infancy, to adolescence, and finally adulthood. Early in life, when the brain is basically a sponge, music can be an important influence in brain development. The effects of music on babies has now become clear, as Dr. Diane Bales explains in her article, “Building Baby’s Brains: the Role of Music,” human life starts with billions of brain cells, and during the early years, connections between these cells are made.
Obviously, the more frequently used pathways become stronger, and the strong, music-related connections can actually affect human thought processes; for instance, classical music helps improve spatial reasoning (Bales). This might seem incredible to you, but the benefits for infants do not stop there. Researchers at McMaster University, in Ontario, have found that “one-year-old babies who participate in interactive music classes with their parents smile more, communicate better, and show earlier and more sophisticated brain responses to music” (sciencedaily. om).
The study was done with two groups; one in which parents and their babies interacted with music by playing instruments, and another in which parents and their children played with toys while listening to music. The babies, who interacted with music as opposed to merely listening to it, developed communication skills, such as pointing at out-of-reach objects and waving goodbye, earlier. Also, “socially, these babies were smiling more, were easier to soothe, and showed less distress when things were unfamiliar or didn’t go their way” (sciencedaily. com).
The difference between interaction and mere exposure, in terms of brain development, is astounding. These babies were maturing early, and in both intelligence and social skills. So, not only are the music oriented babies less lame, they are also smarter. Clearly, music can improve the mind of an infant, but it can also help heal the body. Julie Walker reported on a study conducted by Brigham Young University, in which 33 premature babies were exposed to two 20-minute music sessions a day for four days, and, when compared to a control group, the results were incredible.
Not only did the babies show less signs of distress, but they also increased both their oxygen and caloric intakes (Walker). This is fascinating because not only did the music help relax the premature babies, but it also helped improve their health, demonstrating music’s benefits to both the mind and the body. Simply by listening to music for forty minutes a day, the condition of “fragile newborns” was vastly improved (Walker). Overall, music can have significant benefits, to the brain development, social skills, and health of babies.
Early exposure to music can help prepare babies for school, but it can also help when school comes around. Didn’t it always seem like all of the smart kids were in band or orchestra? Well this may not be because smart kids play instruments, but actually because kids who play instruments are smart. Other than maybe the burnouts who play the cymbols, music education provides many benefits for those who play instruments. The first benefit is success in school. Childrensmusicworkshop. com lists many studies, one in which 237 second-graders used a math program, and some were also trained to use a piano.
The students, who were also taught the piano, scored 27% higher on proportional math and fraction tests than the students, who only used the math program. The conclusion of this study is that children, who are educated in music along with other subjects, perform better in the other subjects than non-musical students. Obviously, this study clearly demonstrates drastic benefits that music can have with education because 27% is no small number, and this is only second grade. Also featured on Childrensmusicworkshop. com, is the result of an analysis of The U. S. Department of Education’s data on more than 25,000 secondary school student.
The analysis showed that students who consistently are involved in music, show “significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12. ” So, according to this analysis, the separations in math proficiency between musically-educated and non-musically-educated students increased drastically as the students grow older. Basically, the 27% from the first study will become a much bigger number, when the students get to high school.
Music education also makes getting into college easier because not only are grades higher for musical students, but also, on average, SAT scores are higher. Childrensmusicworkshop. com quotes the U. S. Department of Education, from its book, Getting Ready for College Early: A Handbook for Parents of Students in the Middle School and Junior High School Years, “Many colleges view participation in the arts and music as a valuable experience that broadens students’ understanding and appreciation of the world around them.
It is also well known and widely recognized that the arts contribute significantly to children’s intellectual development. ” So, according to the U. S. Department of Education, colleges actually look for music education in young students because it creates well-rounded students; you better get your kid enrolled in piano classes quick. Based off of all of this, musical education undoubtedly, leads to success in school for youngsters. However, Childrensmusicworkshop. om also points out how musical education for children also has several societal benefits. The first being a lower rate of crime.
Those who participated in band or orchestra, as children, show the lowest occurrence of substance abuse. Michael Greene, the Recording Academy President and CEO, is also quoted on Childrensmusicworkshop. com, saying that “the arts are a compelling solution to teen violence. ” Music helps create non-violent, and drug-free students, and citizens. This is a very good thing because in a nation like the U. S. where crime rates are through the roof, when compared to other 1st world countries, law-abiding citizens are needed. Finally, music education leads to success in life for students. Not, only does it help with getting into college, but it also helps with getting a job after school. Childrensmusicworkshop. com, also quotes an article from Business Week magazine, which says “The nation’s top business executives agree that arts education programs can help repair weaknesses in American education and better prepare workers for the 21st century.
Even the top CEOs of the U. S. believe in music education, and that it creates better workers and students, and if they believe they believe that, then having a musical instrument on a resume probably isn’t a bad thing. Former President Gerald Ford even said that “music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them and the world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The Future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music. Top CEOs and even the president of the United States of America, they all agree that music education is important in preparation for adulthood, but music, again, can still provide benefits into adulthood. Music can play a significant role in our day to day lives, especially with mental and physical health and stability.
Childrensmusicworkshop. com shows that listening to music is a great way to deal with stress and anxiety by quoting H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who confesses that “During the Gulf War, the few opportunities I had for relaxation I always listened to music, and it brought to me great peace of mind. Music is a very soothing agent, and even a former US general found peace in music, during wartime, which means that the stress of the average working man can, most likely, also be helped by music. In her book Music Medicine: The Science and Spirit of Healing Yourself with Sound, Christine Stevens, writes about the many benefits that music listening to music can provide people, including that of a peaceful mind. Stevens says that in modern society, “noise pollution” fills the air, and that it causes an increase in health problems.
She also talks about a study done by Stockholm’s Institute of Environmental Medicine, which concluded that noise pollution results in an increase in health problems, such as hearing impairment, sleep disturbance, and psychological agitation (Stevens 109). Stevens says that, because our modern lives are so filled with all of this noise pollution, slow, relaxation music can be very calming because it provides room for a calming silence in between notes (Stevens 110). Stevens also talks about the health benefits of music to the body, which is why medicine men and women use drums and chanting, as a part of their practices (Stevens 9).
While to most of us, spiritual healing through drum beats seems ridiculous, music can actually be very beneficial to patients, as I’ll explain later. Mrs. , Stevens also claims that “experts” say that an estimated 75% of doctor visits are due to stress related problems (Stevens 10). It has already been said that stress can be helped by listening to music, and if stress is causing 75% of health problems, than many of these health problems can be partially remedied by music. However, Adam Ramsay’s article, on netdoctor. k, also points out that music can help with long-term diseases, like heart disease and cancer.
According to this article, “Numerous trials have shown that music can help lower heart rate, blood pressure and help relieve pain, anxiety and improve patient quality of life. ” So, music can help with both everyday problems such as headaches, and serious illnesses, like cancer. Music is a truly incredible part of life. With everything from the everyday stresses and pressures of life to the development and education of children, music can be a valuable asset.
Over the past century, many studies have been conducted on music and have concluded that music is very beneficial, so it is important that it be included more in our lives. If your kid could be smarter, if your work could be less stressful, and our nation’s crime could be lessened, with something as simple as music, then it is a no-brainer, that music should be more inclusive in everyone’s life. So, plug in your headphones, enroll your kid into orchestra, and blast Mozart in your baby’s crib because, sooner or later, you’ll see the benefits.
Courtney from Study Moose
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