Why Is Music So Important?
I started thinking about how important music is to our children and society. As I read articles understanding the importance, I realize how music is worked into many of the school subjects that kids are learning in school today.
The science of music and sound is something that we take for granted every day. From the strumming of an acoustic guitar, or the pounding of drums, the sound waves travel to our ears in unique ways. Changes in frequencies or volume and how we hear the sound is all science. The size of a room, what the room is made of, or even what is in the room can all change the way we hear the music.
In music, everything is mathematical. Rhythms are based on subdivisions and fractions. Knowing how many beats are in each measure, you can then do the math to find out how many notes and what subdivisions you can place in that measure. I frequently have my drum and piano students counting out and writing specific rhythms in a measure, to make sure they fully understand why the notes fit.
Music is frequently referred to as the universal language. Most of the terminology used is in music is Italian, German or French. Many of the most beautiful operatic pieces are in foreign languages, forcing vocalists to read, speak, and understand what the composer was trying to express.
As a working musician, I experience this everyday. From the movement of our bodies, to coordination of the fingers on a guitar, all 4 limbs on a drum set, and the lips and facial muscles of a vocalist. All require muscle movement that make you burn calories. Studies have shown that there are as many calories burned by a symphony trumpet player in one performance, as there are by a quarterback in the NFL.
As someone learns music, they are reflecting on the time and place of the creator. Whether someone is playing a classical piece by Bach on the piano, or a pop tune on the radio today. All are showing what society was like, and the emotions of people during those times. As we learn the music, we can also begin to learn history behind why its sounds the way it does. In the 1930's, Soviet composers were expected to write optimistic, patriotic music that communicated directly to the masses. Shostakovich wrote music during this time that seemed to almost mock the Soviet government, to the point where he faced arrest or imprisonment.
Music has a very unique medium, as it can be repainted over and over again. Slight and subtle changes can be made for someone to translate it into an emotion they're feeling. Sometimes a beautiful piece of music can be transformed into something funny, such as Weird Al's music. Or a joyous “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” could be turned into something sad, such as Andrew Belle's version.
I don't expect my students to become music majors, and create a life being a musician. My goal is for my students to have fun and translate their thoughts and emotions through their instrument. Music is a versatile subject that covers many of the topics studied in school and can be carried over into their professional career