Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Music Woo

Part of being a good skeptic is looking at the evidence and being able to change your mind.  I don't see this as admitting you were wrong about something.  I feel it is more of a learning opportunity.  I once thought X, but I learned Y and now I believe  Z is correct.  You know...what adults do.

Recently my views have changed on the topic of teaching Music education in the schools.  I used to be against this.  Not because I found Music class to be painful and boring as a young lass, but because I feel that too many of our schools are lacking in the basics: Math, English and Science.  I really felt that those should be a priority.  I still do, but now I'm not so down on Music education.

I've been reading a book by Oliver Sacks "Musicophilia".  He makes an excellent argument for music education.  Remember when there was that whole "Baby Einstein" movement awhile back. The theory was that having a child listen to Mozart would make them smarter, particularly in math.  Well, it turns out there is some truth in this.  It turns out that exposure to music plays a part in stimulation.  However, it appears as if active participation in music is what really makes the difference.  Using magnetoencephalography, when a child as participates in music, certain parts of the brain are stimulated.  The areas that work together to listen or perform music have other functions as well.  Specifically the Corpus Callosum plays a big part in music, but it is also responsible for communications between the two hemispheres.  Studies have shown that musicians that are trained at an early age tend to have larger Corpus Callosums, which means more brain talking.  While this doesn't exactly prove anything, it makes me more inclined to support music in the schools.  So, break out those recorders and buy your kids their "Guitar Hero" video game systems.  It is for their education after all.

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