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“Music and Success”

Music in itself has a strong impact on the emotional state of the human body. By listening to a certain type of tone or melody, it can make us feel happy or even sad. When listening to sad music, you can become saddened by it, relating to what the lyrics say, or the type of major it’s in. The same happens with happy or upbeat music, you tend to want to dance or jump around, or even sing along! Not only can music change the way you feel, but it can also, in some cases, help you concentrate better.  If music is capable of changing your emotions, do you think that training with it could also determine how successful you are throughout your life?

Albert Einstein is known worldwide to be one of the world’s greatest minds. A master of the sciences, a wonderful mathematician, and a great philosopher. His whole life, he had grown up listening, learning, and training with music because of his mother. She was a professional pianist and his father was a salesman with a passion for mathematics. His mother thought it would be nice to get her son into learning an instrument, so the violin became the instrument of choice. Einstein grew up with a passion and love for music “Life without playing music is inconceivable to me. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music… I get most joy in life out of music.” (Bergland) I believe, as do others, that musical training had helped him develop certain skills sooner than he would’ve originally had in the first place. Of course, it could be because of his father’s influence of his passion for mathematics, but researchers say otherwise.

There are many different kinds of benefits to musical training that are shown to be true. Musical improvisation is a type of special training that makes you rely on the working memory less, using instead more extensive connectivities to the brain. It can stimulate the area of the brain that can enhance your main senses such as touching, hearing, seeing, ect. “Adult musicians and musically trained children in the new Boston study showed enhanced performance on several aspects of executive functioning.” (Bergland) Musicians that have grown older have shown signs of acute hearing and enhanced and developed motor skills, being able to switch quickly from one mental task to the other. Even children who were training in instruments were tested in IQ and seemed to have a higher level of intelligence than those who did not, and naturally, a higher IQ means there’s more likely of a chance for those children to become successful throughout their lives.

The New Boston study was performed to test whether or not students with musical training helped them in their years of school. They decided to compare kids who had trained with instruments to those that had not, and put them through functional MRI (Functional magnetic resonance imaging) scans. The children who had been through musical training had more activity on specific parts of the brain that had been proven to help them test better. “… Our findings suggest that musical training may actually help to set up children for a better academic future.” (Flieser) A lot of people agree that instead of schools focusing their income on standardized testing, they should put more effort into musical arts.This would not only insure a higher success rate of fellow students, but it would also boost their levels of happiness. Who wouldn’t want to replace a test for a chance at learning an instrument for free?

Further research has proven that music taps into other skills other than simple aspects like hands or fingers, “Making music involves more than the voice or fingers playing an instrument; a child learning about music has to tap into multiple skill sets, often simultaneously.” (Brown) When playing an instrument, it requires a lot of effort and multiple things must all come together at once in order to perform the correct task. You use all different kinds of muscles to perform the actions such as your arm and finger muscles when playing a violin, or your vocal chords and esophagus when singing. You also use your eyes to read the notes off of paper, having to memorize what each little note sounds like, and then using those muscles to make that certain tune. Your ears, of course, are used to listen acutely to make sure you’re playing the right note. Normally, if you’ve trained enough, you can tell when a note sounds out of tune, so your sense of hearing between different kind of sounds would naturally be increased.

Learning an instrument also help with language development. They learn to process different sort of sounds better, and are able to make out and decipher words much easier. According to researchers, the effect of language development because of music can be shown in the more active parts of the brain. It increases the rate of growth in language development. The bond between language and music help compliment each other, so if a child studies in one area, they are more than likely going to get the hang of the other just as easily, “The development of language over time tends to enhance parts of the brain that help process music,” says Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and a practicing musician.” (Brown)