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Music is Good for the Soul

Can you get mad about music? Not the angry kind of mad, but the I want to MAD about music? Imagine a world with no music. Trying to erase music from our minds is nearly impossible. It is Thursday and time to look into how music changes lives. Can you take the challenge to Make A Difference?

Music touches our lives at nearly every turn.

  • Lullabies put babies to sleep.
  • Worship services use music as praise.
  • Newlyweds dance to it at receptions.
  • Cultures are recognized by distinctive music.
  • Concerts and recitals are testaments to talent.
  • Play lists are a sign of individuality.
  • Funerals play music to eulogize.

Even when we hear music which is not our personal favorite, we recognize it speaks to the souls of others. Music is the universal human language. It is not handicapped or limited by ethnicity, gender, age, sex or time.

Can you imagine a world where the universal language was mute?

Statistics

More than 70% of American schools cannot maintain funding for arts and especially music. Despite resounding arguments for arts programs, school districts continue to cut art funding in favor of sports and/or corporate courses. What does that mean for the schools? It means lowering statistics schools should strive to keep high. Schools with music programs:

  • Have more than 90% graduation rate (73% in schools without music programs).
  • Have higher than 93% attendance rate (85% in those without).
  • Have higher SAT scores: 60 points in verbal and 40 points in math for the students taking music appreciation coursework.

Studies have proven music introduced in the womb helps produce babies with advanced cognitive development. Musical training, especially in the very young, increases brain development in all of the following areas:

  1. Language
  2. Spatial intelligence
  3. Memory
  4. Problem-solving
  5. Reasoning
  6. Math
  7. Science
  8. Creativity
  9. Expression

Could you use a boost in any of those areas? Could your children and grandchildren?

Singing helps develop skills in much the same way as playing instruments. Children who sing in choirs grow up to be twice as likely as their average peers to volunteer and donate to charity causes. Teamwork is a value learned in choir, orchestra and band.

Each culture has a musical heritage. Musical genres are often defined by the ethnicity of its innovators. Some of the most distinctive music bears the name of the region from whence it originates:

  • Native America tribal music
  • Aboriginal African music
  • Caribbean Calypso
  • Hawai’ian Hula
  • Micronesian music
  • Jamaican Reggae
  • Asian Underground

Cultures use music to pass down ideals and cultural traits to subsequent generations. Latin, Indian, Japanese and Arabic music greatly influence the people of the regions where they are dominant and introduce the culture to places where the spoken language is not understood by the listeners.

Religious music introduces principles of faith. While religions borrow the melodies and rhythms from local cultures, the message is entirely unique to the faiths themselves. Many morph the borrowed sounds into specific genres of music which are unmistakable as anything other than faith-based.

  • Celtic and Tibetan Chanting
  • Muslim Mevlevi (whirling dervish)
  • Christian Gospel
  • Jewish Klezmer
  • Native American Peyote Songs
  • Amish Hymns
  • Hindu Bhajans
  • Rastafari Reggae
  • Hare Krishna Mantra

Keep the Music Alive

What can you do to preserve the music which influences you? Commit to Make A Difference.

1. Listen to your favorite music.

Buy or download your favorite songs. Dance, sing, strum the air guitar, beat the air drums, clap, snap your fingers…act like no one is watching. Truly enjoy the music.

2. Share the music.

Mind the volume...but never let it be silent.

Mind the volume…but never let it be silent.

Build play lists and music collections to share with your social circles, children and grandchildren, social media circles and the general public. Create a soundtrack of your life.

Give them as unbirthday presents to those who are important to you. Throw back to the ’80s and make a mix tape CD or MP3 play list to tell someone how you feel about them, an issue or your faith.

3. Watch it happen.

Buy tickets to a live music performance. Attend a recital. Try a different genre than is your normal fare. You never know if you like something unless you try it.

4. Take music lessons.

No one is too old to learn to make music. If your hands are arthritic, you can learn to blow a harmonica or shake maracas or ring bells. Try a music class with the whole family involved. Be your own version of the Partridge Family.

5. Teach music.

Do you already know how to play an instrument or sing? Teach someone else. Many people would love to be able to create and perform music, but they have never been given the opportunity to learn how to do it.

6. Give music.

If you are giving a gift, consider giving music. While it is the perfect gift for non-occasions, music is memorable on gift-giving occasions as well. This does not require a purchase. Sing to your recipient or play a song on an instrument. Email links to music videos. Make a slide show set to music. Make a presentation about a musician, a musical genre or music history.

7. Donate.

Instruments & Music: Look in the attic and the storage unit. Do you have an instrument you are not using? Do you have music sheets or books? Take them to a local public school, music education center, house of worship or retirement center.

Recordings: Do you have records, tapes or 8-tracks? Donate them to a local music conservatory or a music history museum. The music can be digitally copied, stored and/or returned to you. They will preserve the original recordings in temperature and humidity conditions to ensure as long a life as possible.

Money & Time: Contribute to organizations who teach music or music appreciation. Sponsor free public musical events. Volunteer to present or perform music for students or the elderly.

8. Speak out.

Talk to or write letters to your local school district administrations and legislators. Show appreciation for support the arts have received in the past. Request additional funding for music and the arts at all educational levels.

Make A Difference

Music makes a difference in everyone’s life who hears it. It erases borders. It brings us together as a race.

Music frees the soul. It soothes the body and spirit. It relaxes. It energizes. It calms. It motivates.

Music is an expression of emotion and imagination. Music is fun and interesting, educational and beautiful. It helps us remember who we are and whence we came. It triggers nostalgic memories and is a poignant reminder of things we take seriously.

Music celebrates our victories and our faith. It brings us together as a family.

Can you Make A Difference by bringing music to someone? Time to MAD.

Have you ever given or donated music? How do you show music appreciation? What genre of music affects you the most? With which one do you most identify? What is your favorite song (Feel free to leave a link.)? Can you Make A Difference for and with music?


© Red Dwyer 2012
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29 Comments

  1. We throw old CDs into the book boxes that go to the library.
    And no way on Earth can I pick a fovorite song without mentioning the other 372 tied for first place.
    At this particular moment…
    El guapo recently posted..Friday Foolishness – Blustery EditionMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  March 30, 2012

      I knew you would not be able to be decisive on this one. I have to have a choice for each genre and decade, and then I would still have ties.

      Reply
  2. I have been surrounded by music all my life. I can’t imagine not listening and seeing music. I own over 1000 CD’s and two IPods, my car has a Jukebox that holds over 500 songs (it is full now).

    I listen to everything from Monastic Chants to Rap; there is likely no genre that isn’t in my library. I love concerts. I married a musician and raised a musician. There is no way I could ever pick a favorite song, ever. I could even pick a favorite genre. I might be able to pick a favorite decade if forced (perhaps).
    valentinelogar recently posted..Duplicity with a Dash-Healthcare and the GOPMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  March 31, 2012

      I, too, love concerts. I have been derelict in recent years to go see any, though. That is another chorus of pining for home, though.

      Reply
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