In the past decade or so, music and the arts in general have faded from school curriculums. This decline in teaching music and the arts may be the result of lack of funding or lack of interest on the students’ parts, but it is nonetheless important to teach students the value of a music education.
Music education used to be an integral part of any curriculum. It has been proven that music encourages critical thinking, as well as helps develop mathematical concepts. The brain has two physical parts, but those parts also control different aspects of our lives and they think differently. For example, the left side controls reason: numbers and everything that has to do with puzzles and rationality are all involved with the left side of the brain. On the other hand, the right side of the brain controls everything creative: from music to drawing to singing to thinking about philosophy, the right side is what we want to tap into when we are engaging in an artsy activity.
A few studies have shown that music has positive effects on the brain (i). For example, a specific beat may improve people’s memories. This isn’t surprising, since many students who advance their academic careers and go on to attend distinguished universities often know how to play at least one instrument.
Moreover, teens who know how to play an instrument can also use it to beat daily stress. Making music and listening to soothing music are two different, yet sometimes similar, experiences. You may think that listening to soothing music is more stress-free than making your own music (since it takes more effort to make music), but in actuality, making music may actually relax the body further, especially if one has tapped into the right side of the brain.
Schools have always encouraged the development of mathematical skills. In fact, they have done it to the point of forgetting humanities-based subjects such as language. If the trend is to be continued, music education may help in attaining those results. Music has been proven to have a positive effect on the left side of the brain, too. Since music itself is very much math-based, it makes sense that it should positively affect one’s mathematical skills.
Parents and schools should encourage music education, whether through private means or through the public school system. Music education not only benefits students but also the societies in which they live.
i. “Music and the Brain” by Laurence O’Donnell. http://www.cerebromente.org.br/n15/mente/musica.html