I remember working years ago as an ergonomic consultant for Milco Industries (transferring principles of motion efficiency — learned at the piano keyboard — to industrial application). During the course of the day, the CEO told me that his best employee had a music background. She was the one who found the most creative solutions to problems and didn’t stop until a project was fully completed. She never needed supervision and often exceeded his expectations. It was then that I began thinking about the wider implications of a music education: could it be used to teach specific concepts and skills to people preparing for non-music professions? Could a new teaching pedagogy develop from such an idea and be used in both K-12 and college levels? Yes! (I am working on one now – and will post more about it as it develops.) Here are a few quotes of people from a wide range of disciplines speaking to the benefits of music training.
“The theory of relativity occurred to me by intuition, and music is the driving force behind this intuition. My parents had me study the violin from the time I was six. My new discovery is the result of my music perception.” Albert Einstein.
“Music has shaped my life from an early age. I think of my life as a series of increases in personal discipline. It started with piano lessons.” Jeremiah Brown, Olympic medalist in rowing.
“I owe it all to my bassoon teacher.” Thomas Südhof, neuroscientist, bassoonist and 2013 Nobel Prize winner for his work in the Physiology of Medicine field.
“Most corporate CEOs will tell you they would love to have experts who can find creative ways to solve problems, who have the self-discipline and self-motivation to improve their own work skills while mastering skills to collaborate and cooperate with others to get the job done. Sound like a musician who learns to practice on his or her own and then merge his or her skills with others to produce an orchestrated performance?” Lawrence E. Bethune, VP for Student Affaires and Dean of Students, Berklee College of Music.
“Our data have confirmed a rapid transfer of cognitive benefits in young children after only 20 days of music training. The strength of this effect in almost all of the children was remarkable.” Dr. Sylvia Meoreno, Rotman Research Institute.
“Musical activity involves nearly every region of the brain that we know about, and nearly every neural subsystem.” David Levitin, This is Your Brain on Music (book).
The evidence is overwhelming: music teaches life skills amazingly well. Let’s harness this knowledge to push the music field further. We have new frontiers to explore!