Teachers of music, how often have you heard, with the implication that your subject is not as important as others: “Are you doing anything in music today?”
This is something that is weighing heavy on my heart. I feel that if other teachers don’t respect the Arts in school, how do we expect the learners to value these subjects. So, here are some scientific facts for all the teachers out there who might have unknowingly asked their local music teacher if she’s “doing anything in music today”:
- According to Markham Heid, “Studies have shown that music can buoy [up] your mood and fend off depression. It can also improve blood flow in ways similar to statins, lower your levels of stress-related hormones like cortisol and ease pain. Listening to music before an operation can even improve post-surgery outcomes.”
- Daniel Levitin, a professor of psychology who studies the cognitive neuroscience of music says that, “music activates nearly every region of brain we’ve mapped so far.”
- According to Dr. Michelle Millis Chappel, “After only one month of music lessons (in rhythm, pitch, melody and voice), a study at York University showed that 90% of children between the ages of 4 and 6 had a significant increase in verbal intelligence,” and “Research shows that taking music lessons predicts higher academic performance and IQ in young children.” (2019)
Aside from these scientific benefits of music, music study is so much more complex than a non-musician realises. Young musicians have to learn about posture, technique, theory, history, critical listening, pattern recognition and sequences, timing, rhythm and tempo.
Music also integrates so many different subjects: Languages, Mathematics, Science, Physical Education, Biology, Economics, World History, Business Studies, Drama, Art, Computer Skills (if the resources are available), Media Studies, Life Skills (the psychology of music and the social sphere of music), Geography, and Religious/ Cultural Studies.
Now, aside from all of this technical jargon, think about some of your most defining life moments, and I wonder if music has ever helped you out of a dark space, or made you feel like you had wings that could carry you over everything, or made you sob tears of joy or sadness, or made you dance so freely you felt like air.
So no, I’m not doing anything in music today, I’m doing everything in music today!!!!
Heid, M. 2018. “You Asked: Is Listening to Music Good For Your Health?” in Time. Retrieved from: https://time.com/5254381/listening-to-music-health-benefits/ [Accessed: 05 March 2020]
Millis Chappel, Dr. M. (2019). “Scientists Find 15 Amazing Benefits Of Listening To Music” in Lifehack. Retrieved from: https://www.lifehack.org/317747/scientists-find-15-amazing-benefits-listening-music [Accessed: 05 March 2020]