Classical music is truly a multi-level experience. We’ve learned that music plays a role in our universe, is found in nature and even animals respond to music. Proportionately, though, its greatest impact is on human beings—to our learning processes, brain development and the refinement of our entire neurological system.
Thousands of studies over the last two hundred years illustrate the impact music has on our ability to learn and to process information. For example, children exposed to classical music, either through listening or playing a musical instrument, show accelerated language development, better reading skills, improved math and science skills, enhanced physical coordination, and improved memory.
When music is taught in the schools, it increases math, science, reading, history and SAT scores. It reaches at-risk students by increasing confidence and those with learning disabilities by making the learning process easier.
Additionally, studying a musical instrument also develops character qualities such as teamwork skills, responsibility, and dependability, as well as imagination, invention and creative thinking.
Music also speaks to our emotions. Scientists have discovered that we have three brains—one in the head, one in the heart and one in the gut. All three brains communicate with one another via a vast network of connections—biological, biophysical, neurological, etc.
The brain in our head is primarily responsible for our intellectual functions. The brain in our heart seeks intuitive understanding, yet the brain in the gut produces 95 percent of the feel-good hormone, serotonin, making this part of the body teeming with emotions.
When listening to a piece of music we can appreciate it on many levels—with our head-brain we can detect the intricate and mathematical patterns of music, with our heart-brain and gut-brain we can feel the language of the music and experience an emotional attachment to the music.
Based on this data, it makes perfect sense that one of the reasons humans are so emotionally attached to music is that we feel it throughout our entire being on multiple levels. (see chapter 1 of Good Music Brighter Children for more information on this subject)
Music suggestion: Try playing a piece of music you are familiar with and love. While the music is playing ask yourself—why do I love this piece of music so much? Is it the melody? The rhythm? The harmony? A combination? What kind of feelings does it evoke within me? Do I feel happy? sad? energized? calm? peaceful? exhilarated? Get in “tune” with the music you listen to; appreciate it as a multi-level experience.