The Importance of Music

The Importance of Music


There is so much written – these days – about the importance of music. Music in our everyday lives, music education in schools, how learning an instrument improves one’s cognitive function.

Music is math. Music improves verbal IQ. Great music can transform the mundane into magic. Music lifts your spirits, improves your mood. Singing brings us together. Music reduces stress and anxiety.

The list of the positive impact that music has on humanity is voluminous. Shelves of books on the subject abide.

For some of us who have been fortunate to be introduced to music at an early age, none of this is news. Maybe your family played instruments, sang in the church choir, sang around the piano at holidays, gathered around the radio listening to Benny Goodman, or boasted a collection of Fifth Dimension LPs. Whatever music was going on in your life, an impression was made that will last a lifetime. Every child remembers the nursery rhymes learned in kindergarten, the lullabies sung. Every teenager claims “his” music as the soundtrack of his formative years. And it will be “his” music for life.

Music is one of the most fundamental expressions of human life. And, often, the more exposure we have, the more eclectic our musical tastes become. We may live for decades, thinking that all we like is Country music, then a friend invites us to a jazz concert and we are thrown into a frenzy over this exciting ‘new’ sound. We may play guitar in a rock and roll band, be in love with gospel music, think there never will be anyone like Frank Sinatra. Then, one day, you find yourself sitting in symphony hall and the orchestra is playing Barber’s Adagio for Strings and you are reduced to a puddle of tears, your life changed forever.

This is the glory of music. It is for everyone, everywhere. It is the universal language that expresses the unexpressible. It is the destroyer of walls between us. It is the ultimate human experience.

To discuss the importance of music is fun and interesting, and science has shown how beneficial music can be in treating all sorts of neurological and emotional issues. But, it is rather like discussing the importance of the sun. Lots of interesting facts, of course, but to really grasp its importance – just imagine where we would be without it.

Written for Regina Buckley, TEMPO, The Magazine of The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Fall 2016

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