Music is Good for the Soul

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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. Playing one of my favourite tunes has a great way of perking me up when I feel down! Great tips here, I do like giving the gift of music 🙂
    Christy Birmingham recently posted..Musical TuesdayMy Profile

    Reply
  2. I can’t imagine ‘my world’ without music! How BLAND! Don’t think I could pick a favorite, though… too much good stuff to choose from, all the way from Mozart to Metallica (and before and beyond, too)!
    🙂
    spilledinkguy recently posted..Water and PlasticMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  March 29, 2012

      I have a difficult time even attempting to choose a favorite. Like you, my taste is widely varied. One of the reasons I am adamant people at least try a couple performances of new things before making a judgment.

      Reply
  3. Music speaks to people in a variety of ways. Just try watching a movie without background music. Or, change the background track from suspense to some playful music and the mood changes. Music matters . For me, I listen to a lot of contemporary Christian music and really find encouragement in that.
    Derek Mansker recently posted..Well, most of the timeMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  March 29, 2012

      It is amazing how we can assign so much emotional value to a sound. It also humbles me before those who are deaf.

      Reply
  4. I think that most people will enjoy music of some form or another but as for picking out a favourite well that is most definitely a tough one however I do enjoy listening to Ozzy Osbourne and one track that stands out for me and one that I truly enjoy is ‘Black Rain’, which is brilliant, well I like it anyway 🙂

    But after saying that I like lots of music such as Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells’ and some music of Jean Michel Jarre, even Operatic pieces but don’t ask me to name any of those just now as I have a terrible time remembering them 🙂 lol

    As for some of those deaf people, well they often make music of their own choosing and have a jolly good laugh about it afterwards too, yes I know, be good or else? 🙂 lol

    Have a great rest of evening Red 😉

    Androgoth XXx

    Reply
    • Red

       /  March 29, 2012

      I like both of those songs. Good to hear from the European crowd, as my taste for Jarre seems singular here. You are truly incorrigible. *giggles*

      Reply
      • Hey are my habits really so
        bad? 🙂 lol Yes I am just kidding
        Red 🙄 Have fun now 🙂

        Androgoth XXx

        Reply
        • Red

           /  March 29, 2012

          *Grins* It means I can always count on you for just a bit of wicked mischief 😉 Not a bad thing at all!

          Reply
          • Yes I am a tad wicked sometimes and I guess that is why peeps avoid me thinking that I might be trouble 🙁

            Ahhh well we know otherwise don’t we my great friend Red, though perhaps I should be better behaved when I call in here as some of my comments could be off putting to some of your reader base and I wouldn’t want that…

            Have a wonderful rest of evening Red 🙂

            Androgoth XXx

          • Red

             /  March 30, 2012

            Pish tosh. Do as you like. You are no troll. Only they are prime candidates for bouncing. 😉

  5. A great post, especially since one of the best American music makers of all time just died yesterday – Earl Scruggs. I love bluegrass played guitar for years, and when I lived in Utah, I spent every Sunday afternoon up Little Cottonwood Canyon, where bluegrass thrived and I learned to play spoons!

    I often post music in my blog, especially in comments. And I have Pandora, where I’ve developed a whole series of channels for good listening.

    I confess I have no taste for rap, metal and such, but I love Klezmer, cajun and zydeco, string bands, baroque and Gregorian chant. A song for every season, that’s my cry!
    shoreacres recently posted..ellaella, rememberedMy Profile

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    • Red

       /  March 29, 2012

      I did not know about Earl Scruggs. I play a few different instruments. When my friends came over to help me paint my home, I had the computer playing one of my playlists. Someone asked me if it was Pandora. I laughed. They are all scraped from the hundreds of CDs I have. Bear has satellite radio, which I am thinking I need to be raiding more often.

      Good to see you tonight, L.

      Reply
  6. Well perhaps that is the root of all my problems. I was never good at music. I do like things from rock to classical to old 20’s stuff, though.
    Binky recently posted..Horse Sense vs. Horse SafetyMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  March 29, 2012

      You are apparently good at listening to it! The power comes in the consumption. 😉 I like how diverse your palate is. There are quite a few here who span the gamut on tastes.

      Reply
  7. I only donated music because someone gave me a CD I didn’t like, but I’m sure someone out there did.
    I sing all the time, even when I shouldn’t. I sing instead of talking, especially at home. My kids do it now too.
    I like sappy slow/love songs. I don’t know why, but I always have. I guess I don’t think my voice sounds horrible when I sing to those.
    lorrelee1970 recently posted..Don’t Read This BlogMy Profile

    Reply
    • Red

       /  March 30, 2012

      I like anything I can turn the music up load enough to drown out my own voice 😉 I sing that badly.

      Reply
  8. Love of Music is so important to me, it’s a requirement in a partner since my marriages were music-less. I lucked out this time around – not only does he love it, he plays it.

    Reply
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