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Why Study Music

At the Community Music School at Salem College we believe that music is an essential part of the human experience.  We believe everyone is musical, has a need for musical expression, and that music develops humans in very unique ways. 

As you read through the incomplete list below, ask yourself what other activities provide this many attributes?

Creativity:  Music allows us to unleash our creativity in re-creation (interpretation) and in music creation (composition). 

Artistry:  Musicians seek to find unique ways to bring beauty into the world through sound.

Expression & Communication:  Music is unique in that ideas and emotions are communicated in sound—not necessarily with words.  Attentiveness to sound increases our ability to understand others and clarify our own communications. 

History & Culture:  Studying music allows us to understand other cultures and places in an intimate way.  We learn about the complex relationships between composers, society, music, and ideas.

Discipline:  Music lessons teach us the value of consistency and persistence. 

Independence:  Students develop an ability to learn on their own.

Collaboration:  Musicians learn the value of teamwork when working in groups (ensembles). 

Problem-solving:  Musicians learn to solve problems.

Efficiency: Musicians develop plans for learning new music in the shortest amount of time.

The Pursuit of Personal Excellence:  Music study encourages us to pursue the highest standards for ourselves.

Metacognition: In studying music we learn how to learn.  This can be highly individualistic.

Courage:  Performing in front of others takes a tremendous amount of courage.  Each time we perform in front of others we are taking calculated risks. 

Kinesthetic Awareness:  Musicians learn to become highly aware of their physical bodies as they develop efficient practice and performance strategies.

Science:  Yes, scientific concepts are part of learning music!  Some of the things we learn about include acoustics in the various ways that produce sound, anatomy and physics in how to use our bodies most efficiently, biology and chemistry in how our bodies respond to various stimuli, and psychology in learning about performance and learning strategies.

Appreciation:  “Appreciation” is a general word to indicate a non-judgmental contextual understanding of something.  In studying music, we learn that all music has purpose an value. 

Critical Analysis:  Critical analysis occurs as we practice each piece of music.  We seek to understand what unifies the piece, what elements are expected, and what is unique or extraordinary. 

Honesty:  Our critical analysis continues as we uncover our strengths and weaknesses as learners and performers.  We learn to become honest with ourselves.

Compassion:  The honesty we encounter as we become critical of ourselves carries through to working with our peers.  In understanding the joyful complexity of making music, we learn to treat others with respect and kindness.

IS IT ANY WONDER THAT SO MANY LAWYERS, DOCTORS, SCIENTISTS, AND OTHER GREAT THINKERS AND LEADERS WERE ALSO GREAT MUSICIANS?

Condoleeza Rice
Bill Clinton
Albert Einstein
Benjamin Franklin 

Below are links to just a handful of articles to get you started...

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