The Language of Music
Learning the language of music can be one of the most rewarding experiences for an individual. In young children it helps to develop patience and traits that can lead to success in school and later life. In adults it keeps the brain sharp and healthy by giving it a serious mental workout. Concepts such as rhythm develop mathematical and logical thinking and reading a musical score grows our capacity to comprehend complex information. Music helps social development too. I’ve had the joy of seeing young students, some who started out very shy, grow confident through performing and reaching their own musical milestones.
From a scientific perspective, learning the language of music, and more specifically learning a musical instrument, is one of the few experiences that works all parts of the brain. The following is an excerpt that describes what goes on when a musician is engaged in performing a musical piece:
"As a musician plays an instrument, motor systems in the brain control both gross and fine movements needed to produce sound. The sound is processed by auditory circuitry, which in turn can adjust signaling by the motor control centers. In addition, sensory information from the fingers, hands and arms is sent to the brain for processing. If the musician is reading music, visual information is sent to the brain for processing and interpreting commands for the motor centers. And of course, the brain processes emotional responses to the music as well!"
Zatorre et al. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 8:547-558, 2007
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