Music education is one of the few artistic classes still offered at school. Though I don’t aspire to pursue music professionally, I believe it has had an impact in my individualism and outlook on life overall. I’ll start by telling my story.
My Story – Learning Music
Back at school, I had the opportunity to learn music, art, drama and French for a few years, choosing which to stick with after every year or every few years. This gave me, though I was still young (this started when I was in 5th grade), to explore my passions outside the realm of the core academic classes.
I loathed drama thoroughly due to the fact that I was incredibly shy back then (still am a bit!), and I hated French classes due to the teachers. I had fun making art and writing out investigations, but I was recommended to drop that out – so I did. That was a big mistake. But that’s a topic for another time. I, however, was able to keep learning music for most of secondary school (except for my last 2 years of high school).
School introduced me to this world, but outside school was where I appreciated what classical music was. I entered the National Conservatory of Music at 15 (it’s never too late!) and a year later joined the National Youth Symphony Orchestra. Joining the conservatory enabled me to understand what music consists ‘behind the scenes’, and made me realize how little I knew about the music world. The latter enabled me to improve myself as a performer, and put into constant practice all about music theory (learning is perpetual).
My music education consisted of classical music only, as my instrument is the cello, so I will speak on behalf of classical music primarily. But this doesn’t mean that what I write about here doesn’t apply for other music genres.
This is why I believe that music should be one of the skills that you should learn, the younger the better. Just remember, when it comes to music, it is never too late to learn. Need some convincing to get started? Here’s what music could do to you:
- Develop your intelligence. Though music is conventionally considered more of a ‘creative’ activity and associated with the right brain, it’s actually a combination of both (if you ask me). The way you hear, respond and interpret music uses the right brain, while the more technical stuff – pitch, tempo, rhythm, etc. – applies the left brain. Science shows that music (or other arts) education will enable you to develop your skills in academics as well, particularly maths.
- Enable you to focus on a productive activity that would have otherwise been lost doing other possibly mindless things (from watching TV to doing drugs). You learn to develop an intrinsic value that only you, as an individual, can achieve throughout time and work. This will enable you to enhance your abilities better.
- Develop yourself individually and collectively. The act of learning and playing your instrument is an individual task that requires your mental and physical concentration and coordination. However, once you become better at it, you move on to things such as chamber music, orchestra, band, among other things, which require you to work with other musicians as a team.
- Appreciate the world intrinsically. Personally, unlike other arts where you actually produce a physical outcome of work, music doesn’t do that. The inner satisfaction comes from practice, training and performances. It’s something that you can’t ‘have’, but can reproduce over and over again when you get the hang of it. It shifts the focus from materialism and makes you focus on what you can achieve.
- Inspire others. The following quote summarizes this perfectly:
“If we were a medical school, and you were here as a med student practicing appendectomies, you’d take your work very seriously because you would imagine that some night at two AM someone is going to waltz into your emergency room and you’re going to have to save their life. Well, my friends, someday at 8 PM someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well you do your craft.
– Karl Paulnack
I feel that music is often unappreciated in society today. Many take it for granted, or believe that ‘it’s not my thing’. That’s bullshit. Just because you can’t ‘see’ the values of music physically doesn’t mean that there aren’t any. Like any other career passion out there, music can be used to serve for a beneficial purpose in society.
To read more: 18 Benefits of Playing a Musical Instrument
So, do you play any instruments or sing? 😉 If not, would you like to?