Why is Teaching Music So Important?
In all ages the thoughtful have called music "the celestial Art". Artists have pictured the angels playing on harps, and this teaches us that the soul comes on earth with the love of music. It is not after being born on earth that man learns to love music; the soul was already enthralled by music before it came to earth. . . . music is the first and the last thing to appeal to every soul.
Music is the most wonderful way to spiritual realization; there is no quicker and no surer way of attaining spiritual perfection than through music. . . . In golden age(s) there was the music of the soul, a music that appealed to the soul itself and that raised it to cosmic consciousness, the music of the angels, the music that was healing and soothing.
(Hazrat Inayat Khan gave a warning from an old Hindu story that tells how a musician invented a new way of composing music.)
". . . When this man sang his new compositions, he won the admiration and praise of everyone at the court. But one of the old musicians who was present said, "If Your Majesty will pardon me, I would like to say a word. There is no doubt that this is most beautiful music, and it has won the admiration of all those present, and also my own. But I must tell you that from this day the music of the country, instead of going upward, will go downward. . . .And so it happened; step by step after that, that music was brought down.
Music should be healing; music should uplift the soul; music should inspire. There is no better way of getting closer to God, of rising higher towards the spirit, of attaining spiritual perfection than music, if only it is rightly understood.
Excerpts from the Music of Life
by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Music and Ancient Civilizations
- Early Greeks thought there was a clear connection between music and mathematics. Over the entrance to Plato's Academy at Athens there was an inscription that could be translated: "No one may enter who does not know earth's rhythm." . . . in the belief that what held all things together was music.
- Hindus believe there is a seed sound at the heart of creation, the Nada Braham, the tone from which God made the world, "which continues to sound at the bottom of creation, and which sounds through everything."
- A passage in the Tibetan Book of the Dead describes the essence of reality as "reverberating like a thousand distant thunders."
- Pythagoras's asserted in the fifth century B.C. that, "There is geometry in the humming of the strings. There is music in the spacings of the spheres."
- Plotinus: "All music, based upon melody and rhythm, is the earthly representative of heavenly music."
- Lao-tzu spoke of the Great Tone that is "the tone that goes beyond all unusual imagination."
- Ancient writings are filled with testimonies to music's power to perform miracles of healing or transformation, whether in ancient Greece or Rome, in the Bible, or other ancient texts.
- Rumi, thirteenth century Islamic master, wrote:
We have heard these melodies in Paradise;
But while we are thus shrouded by gross earthly veils,
How can the tones of the dancing spheres reach us?
To get in touch with music that allows access to the unconscious and inner depths, one must listen to the masterpieces of baroque, classical, romantic and impressionist composers who have encoded many of their works with messages of divine inspiration and unity. Great compositions offer those who listen, keys to personal transformation and the understanding of wholeness.
Excerpts from the Music and Miracles
by Don Campbell
Students of music and other arts continue to outperform their non-arts peers on the SAT, according to reports by the College Entrance Examination Board. As a whole, in 1995, SAT-takers with experience in music . . . scored 51 points higher on the verbal portion of the test, and 39 points higher on the math portion, as compared to students with no experience. And longer arts study means higher SAT scores: in 1990, those who had studied the arts four or more years scored 59 points higher on the verbal and 44 points higher in the math portion, than students with no experience in the arts.
At BYU Dr. Linda Smith describes the impact of test taking. Linda Shirley of Testing services describes the impact of music being used in the testing services. Rosalie Pratt says: "There appears to be an influence on learning because of music." There are definite physiological effects on the body such as heart beat, muscle tension, skin temperature and EMGs." Mozart appears to have some of the greatest influence because of the structure.
Music lessons have been shown to improve children's performance in school. After eight months of keyboard lessons, preschoolers tested showed a 46% boost in their spatial IQ, which is crucial for higher brain functions such as complex mathematics. Frances Rauschrer, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine
University of California, Irvine, 36 people took standardized intelligence tests after three 10 minute periods of Mozart. They scored an average 119 or eight points higher than those who listened to a relaxation tape and nine points higher than those who listened to silence. Rauscher said the complex music may "prime" the brain for mathematics or other analytical work because it triggers the same brain activity. "We predict that music lacking complexity or which is repetitive may interfere with rather than enhance abstract reasoning."
Psychology Today July/August 1993 cites Irvine study and says Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik put people in that "mathy" frame of mind.
Suffolk, VA, high school student David Merrell finished first in regional and state fairs by demonstrating the effects of music on lab mice. After the mice ran through a maze in a bout 10 minutes, Merrell played classical music to one group and heavy metal to another for 10 hours a day. After three weeks, the mice exposed to classical music made it through the maze in a minute and a half. The rock music group took 30 minutes. Said Merrell: "I had to cut my project short because all the hard-rock mice killed each other. None of the classical mice did that."
Excerpts from the Music and the Mind
Dr. Georgi Lozanov, whose accelerated learning techniques are the basis for SuperCamp, sought a way to combining strenuous mental work with relaxed physiology in order to produce excellent learners. After intensive experimentation with students, he found that music was the key. Relaxation induced by specific music leaves the mind alert and able to concentrate.
Using specific music allows you to do strenuous mental work while remaining relaxed and focused.
Without music the following physiological effects take place:
With appropriate music the effects are as follows:
- The pulse and blood pressure rise.
- Brain waves speed up.
- Muscles tense.
- The pulse and blood pressure decrease.
- The brain waves slow down.
- The muscles relax.
The music Dr. Lozanov found most conducive to this state is baroque music, like that of Bach, Handel, Pachelbel, and Vivaldi. These composers used very specific beats and patterns that automatically synchronize our minds and our bodies. For instance, most baroque music is timed at sixty beats per minute, which is the same as an average resting heart rate.
As you might know, the influence of baroque music is not limited to humans; in experiments, the plants grew lush foliage and large roots when baroque music was played to them, and they leaned toward the music as if toward the sun. (By the way, when exposed to acid rock music, these same plants shriveled and died.)
It has been theorized that in very left-brain situations such as studying new material, music awakens the intuitive, creative right brain so that its input can be integrated into the whole process. Playing music is an effective way to occupy your right brain while concentrating on left-brain activities.
Excerpts from Quantum Learning
by Bobbi Deporter
To the question, "Does music affect man's physical body?" modern research replies in the clear affirmative. There is scarcely a single function of the body that cannot be affected by musical tones. The roots of the auditory nerves are more widely distributed and possess more extensive connections than those of any other nerves in the body. Investigation has shown that music affects digestion, internal secretions, circulation, nutrition and respiration. Even the neural networks of the brain have been found to be sensitive to harmonic principles.
. . . music affects the body in two distinct ways: directly, as the effect of sound upon the cells and organs, and indirectly, by affecting the emotions, which then in turn influence numerous bodily processes.
Dr. T. C. Singh, head of the Botany Department at Annamalia University, India, has conducted research into the effects of music on plants. He discovered not only that constant exposure to classical music caused plants to grow at twice their normal speed, but also went on to find what seemed to be one of the main causes of this accelerated growth. In his experiments, the violin was found to be one of the most life-enhancing instruments of all.
Yet, perhaps the most interesting and significant of all of Dr. Singh's findings was that later generations of the seeds of musically stimulated plants carried on the improved traits of greater size, more leaves, and other characteristics. Music had changed the plants' chromosomes!
To listen to Handel's Messiah is not to debate intellectually about religion; it is to feel and become one with that surging inner flame of devotion. . . . It is the essence of this state that enters into us, tending to mold and shape our own consciousness into conformity with itself.
Excerpts from The Secret Power of Music
by David Tame