music, sweet music



            Being a musician, I encourage people all of the time to take up a musical instrument and learn about its essence. Not only do musical instruments provide a relief from stress but also they make an individual look more "cool".


            So, someone may assume the focus with a musical instrument would distract someone from more significant things like school work. But, this is not entirely true.


            According to this website, discipline with music helps the brain increase cognitive ability. As a result, test scores across the boards would go up for the individuals who have a music background, "...Johnson, professor of music education and music therapy and associate dean of the School of Fine Arts at KU, found jumps of 22 percent in English test scores and 20 percent in math scores at elementary schools with superior music education." Here, Professor Johnson did an experiment with schools across the nation. From their results, it is shown that a background in music could raise standardized test scores for college applicants and high school students.


            The famous Mozart effect has a similar benefit. As a reminder, the Mozart Effect is the idea that someone who regularly listens to classical music will have better test scores; also, this idea relates to pregnant women who listen to Mozart when they are pregnant to make their offspring "smarter". This theory has been seen in particular situations, but some scientists have failed to manipulate the effect with research. Because of this fault, this theory can be concluded as chance because there were not consistent trials.  Those individuals who did not sho

 results with cognitive ability probably don't have a taste in classical music so they couldn't stimulate relief.  There are other third variables that can be put into context.


            But, in general terms, music is an art form that allows people to be relaxed. On the other hand, a musical instrument requires more than just pleasure: dedication is essential. The determined musicians who study their instrument for months and years have trained their brain to function in a musical fashion.  So, when they sit down to take a long test, they can attack problems with a music basis to guide them through the test.  On a personal note, when I am taking a midterm or an accumulative assessment, I will always hum and tap to the rhythm of that song in order to make my brain make sense of the information on the assignment. So, research a musical instrument and get involved with lessons and dedication. 

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In high school, my AP Euro teacher always played classical music in the background while we were taking our exams. It would be interesting to know if the scores on his exams were higher than they were when he didn't play classical music in the background. I also wonder if just the fact that people who play instruments generally enjoy playing them and therefore make sure they have practice time into their schedule. Better time management skills have also been proven to increase testing scores. With playing an instrument, increased test scores could be a combination of the two; playing an instrument and the time management that comes along with doing something you love with things you have to do because you make sure you have time to do what you love.

I too had a few teachers who would play classical music during exams. It can be a relaxing sound which could then help you concentrate. I checked out Wikipedia to research a little more about the Mozart effect and it says "listening to Mozart's music may induce a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks." It is still just results from a few studies so it could be chance. Larger studies could help determine if classical music helps at a young age. As Quinn stated, I think playing an instrument definitely teaches a child some basic skills, such as practicing and goal setting. I used to play the piano, and it would require practicing daily in order to attain goals that I had set. I think that classical music is just the "foundation" type of music that children start from.

When I was younger, I played piano for many years and my parents always supported piano because it is known to make you "smarter." I did a little research to see if this was just a myth or not and found out that it isn't. In an article that I found, "Top 10 Ways Playing Piano Makes You Healthier & Smarter," the benefits are obvious. The benefit that I found most interesting is (#5) that "Children who have had music lessons tend to have a larger vocabulary and better reading ability than youngsters who haven't had any musical training." This interests me because I believe that being able to read well is one of the most important skills a child could have; if a child is able to read well and understand what they are reading, they can learn anything.


I've always wondered why classical music helps me do better on tests and papers. Is there some sort of a connection between music heard in the womb and how the brain will react once out of the womb? What would happen to somebody who never listened to classical music a day in their life? Would the Mozart effect still hold true for them?

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