Music is a wonderful phenomenon. It has many wondrous abilities in the human mind, and has a pretty big influence in our lives. No matter the genre, we all can enjoy music in its many shapes and forms. However, music plays an even bigger role in society, and has many great properties. But what exactly makes music so great and powerful in our lives? And more importantly, can learning to play an instrument actually make us smarter?
First off, the term music came from the Greek, and means the Art of the Muses (after the Greek God). Music can be defined now as organized sound which separates it from everyday sounds and clatter. Music also has many properties such as pitch, which is the position of the note, relative to other notes. This results in a high octave, or a low octave. Scientifically, this involves frequency and vibrations in the process. There is also rhythm which are the length of the notes, the rests and gaps between them, and all the accents.
With that said, music of course is powerful not just to us as individuals, but also to society as a whole. When we hear a song, we all swing to the rhythm of it and all experience the music together. We all feel the emotion, the power, and the tone of the music along with everyone else who hears the song. Music is like a universal language, as we all can understand and relate to it, no matter what tongue or culture we come from.
Now that we have that in mind, think about how music influences people. We all listen to a song and feel a certain emotion and are swayed to carry out a certain action. For example, if we listen to a sad song, we may reflect on the sadness that happened in our lives. In the movie Les Misérables, everyone sang in the movie all the time. Particularly, in the song Do You Hear the People Sing, we see that the rallying of people to start the French Revolution influence many people to join the cause because they were influenced from the music and the rhythm and the tone it set.
Another take of this goes to the song Let It Go by Idina Menzel from Disney’s Frozen. The song was cherished by millions upon millions of people all over the world in many many countries. We all felt the emotion and power of the song, as we saw Elsa transform into a completely new person, and we all cheered her on through out the song. The song got so popular and gained so much momentum that the video uploaded to YouTube has over one hundred million views, and the song won an Oscar! So this clearly shows how music can bring us all together.
So can learning to play an instrument really make us smarter people? Well musicians generally have larger corpus callosums, which are the fibers that connect the hemispheres of the brain. Also as we play an instrument, the neurons in our brains in charge of transmitting signals line up. The first few times we play an instrument, only a few neurons line up with each other single file, and the more we play and practice our instrument, the stronger the neural pathway and the more transmitters created. With a stronger neural pathway, our brain can send signals to around our brain and to parts of our body faster and more efficiently. So in a way we do get “smarter”, but this is a long term process, and takes massive amounts dedication and hours and hours of practice each day to achieve.
So remember, music is very influential and powerful, now more than ever in our culture. It unites us, as humans, together and can make us all feel a certain way and even sympathize with each other. Learning how to play an instrument can be rigorous, yet rewarding in the long term. So try and enjoy the music, it’s for the good of your humanity.