Music is a universal and unifying form of art that can bring together people of all different backgrounds, this is demonstrated countless times throughout the past and present. But music can have a much more profound effect on people than even they realize and play a vital role in the development of the human brain starting at the very moment we are born.
Dr. Gerald Evans, a professor at Lorain County Community College, has been teaching music on the campus for over 25 years. Evans teaches music theory, ear training, and music history among other music-centric classes at LCCC, and advocates that the practice and enjoyment of music play a large role in the development of the brain, starting at the youngest of ages.
“Music is essential, art is essential, for complete integration and full brain development,” Evans said, suggesting parents begin to introduce music at a very early age. “The voice is the first instrument the human body is introduced to,” Evans goes on to say, “the voice really is an instrument everyone uses.” Singing helps to create and connect melodies, developing many levels of the brain.
Once someone is old enough to being learning an instrument, the development of the brain grows from new skills learned. Playing an instrument combines both the left and right sides of the brain, causing someone to use both the intellectual and physical parts of the brain. “Playing an instrument helps develop hand-eye coordination, as well as full left and right-hand body coordination.,” Evans said.
Music and adulthood
The relationship between brain activity and music does not stop when someone is young, and a combination of the two has been linked to academic success. Evans reinforces this in his music theory classes, by focusing on the mathematical side of music, the notes and tones of a music.
The benefits expand further than just mathematics. Learning an instrument and practicing music can help critical thinking, and ear training can help oral communication in students and benefit their decision making by improving on what they hear in communication with others.
Evans has seen in his students over the years, that music majors tend to be students who do well in other areas of academia. They carry higher grade-point-averages, feel more comfortable writing papers, and tend to be more varied in their experiences and knowledge of history.
“Music, and humanities as a whole, are essential for our ideas of the world, whether we listen to music or play it ourselves,” Evans said. These ideas begin to be molded when people are young, and can help shape who that person becomes as they grow older. Integrating music into brain development helps music to be used as a global expression, through thoughts, ideas, and emotions.