Stumbled on this thread--read the first article part. Very interesting....music can make us smarter in some areas, but not all of it has to do with that....it just depends on how willing we are to learn the material.
Not sure if Jose is around right now, but nice to see the post brought up again!
Well, my take on it is that some people (read usually some parents who are not into music) take all that stuff too seriously. I mean, the main purpose of pursuing music should of couce be the music itself. Music is definitly worth the efort in itself according to me. If there are nice side effects, that's wonderful, but we should not see music as just an exercise.
As for the scientific value there are ongoing debates over how large and how lasting different effects are, so it is hard to assess how useful they are in practie.
Yes, I am back from a long holidays, with my hand partially recovered. So I am working again, but only for limited time daily (about an hour only).
The idea of opening this thread was to comment on an issue that could be controversial; this specific article is not high science, but quite readable and possibly interesting to many.
I agree with Cessi that we should not take training in music for its alleged effect on the brain, but for the other reasons we already know. But many things in life have several faces and training a child (or an adult) in music is a big investment in time and probably also in money.
When we have children, we must plan in advance and manage their and our resources, both in time/dedication, as well as the money required -and available-.
There are so many choices... If we have a confirmed positive side effect by learning an instrument, then it is an additional argument, helpful for the decision and the necessary choice.
But I must say that after 8 years of learning and practising I do not notice the slightest improvement in my cognitive capabilities, if I take out all the obvious capacities that are related to playing the instrument itself.
In my case, being a very late starter, any improvement could have been compensated by the natural decline due to ageing, but I do not know what could be the case for others, young and older.
If someone noted something positive due to her/his practise on the flute or other, it would be interesting to read a comment about the experience, so please post it if you like.
Doing an instrument (such as flute, I play that) opens up your brain. It makes you think more and it's a wonderful experience. But, as you get older (as I'm learning) you also have to learn to balance instrument and homework. All summer I was on flute, but then school came along and I realized I couldn't spend all my time on it. You learn how to balance your time.
Welcome back, Jose! Hope you enjoyed the vacation.
Karinabina, interesting comment. I think (we) adults take prioritising for granted. It is actually a huge step of growing up to realise that life is not endless and that we have to make choises about what we spend time on. It's difficult skill to be able to prioritize in a way that makes you happy about the direction of your life. There are always so many things we could have done, so it is important not to focus on the "what if"s too much, but to influence what you can influence.
As for benifits of music. Well, I find it easy to focus on the music, flute, and practicing. I love the process, even if some days are easier and some days are harder. Unfortuanetely I don't find it as easy to really engage in my regular work activities. I do like my profession a lot and have no wish to change (unless someone wants to pay me for my current still-in-method-books flute skills ) So, what I am trying to do is to use some of the mindset I have when working on flute, in my work tasks. It has actually helped, and makes me feel much more efficient and satified at work.
I did the same, Karinabina. I actually went to a summer camp for flute (different groups for amatures, pros or advanced students, and teachers), and it was indeed hard to accept that I can't allow myself to spend as much time on flute when working. I think the trick is to spend the practice time wisely. Qualty is more important than quantity.
Right on. When I practice, I take her out, play for maybe a half hour-forty five minutes or fifteen minutes, then leave, then come back, play a little, drink some water, then come back, and so on. I sometimes practice the whole time without leaving my room, but usually I just don't do it in one whole block of time.
I find this to be a very relevant subject right now.
Many schools are cutting down on their music programs, while some are cutting music altogether.
Music programs in which a student learns an instrument, or sings in a 'serious' choir, will have a profound effect on the academic abilities of those participants.
Academic abilities will also be enhanced when grade-school children have a quality music program- singing, pageants, learning the recorder, etc.
It is a shame to see these school music programs being cut. Many parents think, well, the kids MUST learn math and reading, so we'll cut out the music program- but the music enhances the students' abilities to actually LEARN the math and reading skills.
I started playing piano at age 5, and later added guitar and flute. I have always felt that my musical training helped me in the ways the article talks about. Definitely in the area of mathematics, but also in auditory learning and retention. It has also helped in multi-tasking.
In music, as well as life, one needs to be aware of what is going on around you (other instruments and/or distractions) but still retain the ability to focus on the task in front of you, whether it be your own instrumental part or your own job in life.
I would say, without a doubt, that a lifetime of making music has successfully enhanced my professional career.