What is Music?
In many senses, music stands as a peer with many basic educational disciplines including reading, writing and arithmetic. But music defies neat categorization because of its multifaceted nature. Certainly, it is art and so much more.
Music is a Science
Music, when well written and performed, is precise and exacting. The score of any musical piece presents a precise graph of the acoustics required to render the composer’s musical intention. Within that chart is a diagram that documents the changes in musical intensity, sound frequencies, melody, harmony, and volume with exacting precision over the length of the piece.
Music is Mathematical
Music presents a distinct connection with mathematics and mathematical skills. Just as in mathematics, musical notes can be combined in infinitely varying combinations and patterns with each combination, each pattern or formula arriving at a unique result. Many studies have noted that the brain processes math and music in the same way—distinct from how the brain handles other information. Consequently, musical skill and mathematical skill are mutually supportive and reinforcing.
Music is its own Language
Music is a multifaceted framework exposing a variety of languages to children. The world of foreign language skills opens up, as most musical terminology is French, Italian, or German in origin. Moreover, musical notation for composition represents a compact short hand with rich semantics that embody a complete, universal language that transcends cultural and traditional linguistic borders.
Music is History
Music captures the life and times of its creator. Within its aural history, children can discern and explore the culture and country of each piece’s origin. It represents a living, breathing snapshot of particular periods of time—much in the way that the listeners of history first experienced it. Classical paintings, for example, capture a visual, yet static, impression of the times, events, and feelings of an era. In a similar way, great musical compositions frame historical eras in a dynamic fashion that most closely reconciles with actually living in that time period. When your children listen to music, they are experiencing an echo from the past that rings in their ears and connects them with history.
Music is more than…
Musical education crosses many educational areas. It presents a distinctly different way for thinking and learning; often it improves a child’s ability to think and learn. It is more than gym class, as it requires physical skill, coordination, control, and discipline when playing a musical piece. But it is more than mere exercise as the ear hears and the mind interprets. Music is Art. Music takes a variety of technical and mechanical techniques and allows the composer to create emotion. Music compels the spirit, the soul, and the heart with its beauty.