The Importance of Teaching Music
A few years ago, I came across this great write-up on the importance of music education. I recently re-discovered it buried in my archives and thought I’d post it for others to enjoy.
With music and art programs being cut from schools all over the United States, I think this is a great reminder that music is more than a fun hobby or emotional outlet.
Why Teach Music?
by Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser
Music is a science.
It is exact, specific; and it demands exact acoustics. A conductor’s full score is a chart, a graph which indicates frequencies, intensities, volume changes, melody and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of time.
Music is mathematical.
It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions which must be done instantaneously, not worked out on paper.
Music is a foreign language.
Most of the terms are in Italian, German or French; and the notation is certainly not English but a highly developed kind of shorthand that uses symbols to represent ideas. The semantics of music is the most complete and universal language.
Music is history.
Music usually reflects the environment and times of its creation, often even the country and/or racial feeling.
Music is physical education.
It requires fantastic coordination of fingers, hands, arms, lip, cheek and facial muscles, in addition to extraordinary control of diaphragmatic, back, stomach, and chest muscles, which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and the mind interprets.
Music is all these things, but most of all, music is art.
It allows a human being to take all of these dry, technically boring (but difficult) techniques and use them to create emotion. That is one thing science cannot duplicate; humanism, feeling, emotion, call it what you will.
Why is Music Taught?
Not because we expect our students to major in music. Not because we expect them to play or sing all their life. Not so they can relax. Not so they can have fun. But so they will be human. So they will recognize beauty. So they will be sensitive. So they will be closer to an infinite beyond this world. So they will have something to cling to. So they will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good — — in short, more life. Of what value will it be to make a prosperous living unless you know how to live?
Questions: Have you studied music? If so, do you agree with this perspective? If not, do you wish you had? What’s your experience?