The Power of a Tune

By 2019-12-05 10:40:04

Darcy Hendriks at Concordia International School discusses the benefits of studying and performing music

There are countless studies showing the cognitive benefits of studying music, especially at an early age, when the brain is still developing. There are also benefits from participating in school music ensembles throughout the primary and secondary years of academic study.

Students’ brains function differently after studying music. Both sides of the brain are active when looking at notations on a page and physically producing sounds to make that music come alive. Many student musicians also gain personal confidence from positive individual or ensemble music performances. They learn problem-solving skills and the ability to work collaboratively with a team, as well as gaining enhanced imagination and creativity through participation in music.

Student musicians learn to create the music on the page, but also have opportunities to compose or improvise their own melodies. Reflecting on my own music studies as a child, I found the desire to create a greater depth of imagination in story lines, which enhanced my creative writing abilities.

Music study is different for each student. There are students who find great value in the emotional release they experience while participating in music ensembles, whilst other students benefit from the academic stimulation theory provides. Some musicians in my classes have been able to utilise their music participation to assist in their writing assignments and project completion in other academic settings.

Many students benefit from greater confidence that helps them excel in public speaking or class presentations. Often my current students find an increase in motivation to complete their daily academic studies while listening to music.

As a choir director in my twentieth year of teaching, I can say that my top musicians frequently excel in their maths and science courses. They are also successful in art and drama, and many of these same students have moved on to leadership positions in their collegiate years and future careers. I know that my classroom instruction strategies are deeply creative due to the opportunities my brain has had to participate in music.

Personally I am truly thankful that my parents gave me the opportunity to to study music in so many ways. They helped me study what my instructors asked me to complete, and then helped me find other enjoyable ways to utilise the skills I had. You can always follow your instrument practice with studying your favorite music genre. I know several music students who enjoy perfecting piano or vocal duets with friends. There also seems to be a lot of enjoyment when students create their own original music; they like to create recordings or videos with or without the use of popular music applications.

Musicianship is truly a skill that we can use throughout life, long after our bodies may need to stop being active in our favorite physical activity. The benefits seem limitless.