Monday, November 11, 2013

Is music the key to success?

A recent article in the New York Times asked the question: Is music the key to success? Of course, at Kindermusik, we would answer a resounding: Yes! We wouldn’t be alone in that exclamation either.
Music - happy familiesThe body of music education research continues to grow concerning how musical learning can increase social-emotional abilities, math skills, language development, inhibitory control, collaboration, empathy, creativity, cultural understanding, and so much more. Studies show music can decrease pain during medical procedures, lower blood pressure, and lift our overall spirits.

Getting personal about the benefits of music

However, the music education research only tells part of the story. Music is personal as much as it is social. Take the case of United States Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. A bullet to her brain left her in critical condition and unable to speak. However, through music therapy, she is learning how to speak again.
In the above television interview,  Dr. Oliver Sacks, Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at Columbia University sums up the benefits of music on language by explaining: “Nothing activates the brain so extensively as music to it to have been possible to create new language areas in the right hemisphere.”
The New York Times article provides more personal stories from individuals who credit the benefits of music to their success in other areas:
  • The television broadcaster Paula Zahn (cello) and the NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd (French horn) both attended college on music scholarships.
  • Larry Page, a co-founder of Google, played saxophone in high school.
  • Steven Spielberg is a clarinetist and son of a pianist.
  • Condoleezza Rice trained to be a concert pianist.
  • Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, was a professional clarinet and saxophone player.
  • The former World Bank president James D. Wolfensohn has played cello at Carnegie Hall.
(Source: James Wolfensohn performs with Bank/IMF Choral Group at Christmas Concert, 2004)
(Source: James Wolfensohn performs with Bank/IMF Choral Group at Christmas Concert, 2004)
Music provides balance, explains Mr. Wolfensohn in the New York Times article, who began cello lessons as an adult. “You aren’t trying to win any races or be the leader of this or the leader of that. You’re enjoying it because of the satisfaction and joy you get out of music, which is totally unrelated to your professional status.”
So, again, we answer the question, “Is music the key to success?” with a resounding, Yes…and so much more!