Are you a musician? Do you like to listen to music? Do/did you participate in band or chorus classes at school? You most likely answered yes to one of these questions. All across the world billions of people connect to music and yet, music education in schools is dwindling, but music is beneficial for many reasons! It helps many Alzheimer's patients, improves test scores and motor skills and even provides an emotional outlet.
Music therapy is proven to help Alzheimer's patients. Patients involved in music therapy can many times show much more improvement that those not, this is especially true when the patient played an instrument. Patients with memory loss can, many times, remember songs and specific song lyrics. Doctors will use music to help patients retrieve lost memories; certain music triggers particularly unique or interesting memories. Music and its effect on memory have been debated scientifically, but researchers now have evidence that the processing of music and language (specifically memorizing information), rely on the same brain systems. Could music therapy help you or a loved one? Chances are - the answer is yes!
Music also helps both sides of the brain. For those who don’t know - there are two sides of the brain, the left and the right, the left is analytical whereas, the right is creative. Naturally we know from this explanation that music and art would affect the right side of the brain. So how would it affect the left side? The left side involves memory, which is something we all use in school to remember things and also in knowing certain memories. The power of music to affect memory is very interesting. Baroque and Mozart's (classical piano musicians) music, have a 60 beats per minute beat pattern which activates the left and right parts of the brain. This maximizes learning and the retaining of information. Knowing how to play an instrument also can help with memorizing. Even with sheet music, student musicians are always using memory to perform. You know that you are playing something wrong because you know the tune and have it memorized. This skill can even help with presentations you must do at school. Music even has benefits in Alzheimer's patients. Compared to non-musicians, people with a high degree of musical experience had much higher scores on the cognitive tests, including those related to visual and spatial memory, naming objects and the brain’s ability to adapt to new information.
Music can even help with motor skills and sports. If you play a sport (especially baseball) playing an instrument like the piano or guitar can help you be able to be more accurate and even stretch your muscles. Music and fine motor skills are especially beneficial in young children.
According to eXtention: “Songs with motions help children practice fine-motor coordination. Doing the finger motions of a song like "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" or a finger play like "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" helps children practice their hand and finger control which is needed for writing and handling small objects. Dancing to music can also help children perfect control of their arms and legs. Music and dance are fun and help children be playful with each other and with their child care providers.”
Some people will argue that music programs in schools can detract from academics and block students' learning in more important areas. They will claim that students will spend too much time on practicing, trips and performances, which will affect their ability to do their homework and study however, it is exactly the opposite. From what you have read previously in this article you know that music actually helps students with memory. There are even studies that prove SAT scores are higher in those who played an instrument. Students who have experience with music performance or appreciation score 63 points higher on the verbal portion of SAT and 44 points higher on math. Which just proves even more how much music can help you intellectually.
In conclusion, music can help students with memory, math scores, and even therapy. So, next time someone says that music should be the next thing to go from the budget you will know that it is in fact, just the opposite.