The Beauty of Music 2

Since I wrote the Beauty of Music 1, I’ve started reading Elena Mannes’s book called The Power of Music. I would highly recommend this reading for anybody. Her language is accessible and compelling. I’ve been thrilled to find her last few years have produced a body of collective knowledge that underscores my findings and passion.

In much of the reading I’ve been immersing myself, it is, naturally, focused on the relationship between music and the brain. It seems there is a burgeoning group of researchers out there interested in understanding not if but to what degree is music universally at the center of life.

Some say, “Why drill down to this nth degree on subject matter that should be mysterious? Maybe we aren’t supposed to understand it.” I understand these sentiments. I feel that way about hooking machines up to Stradavarius violins to see why they make such a historically beautiful sound. Fortunately, no one has figured that out yet. The magic is in the ancient stain.

However, we live in societies that don’t place value on music education, that view the arts as a luxury, not a vital part of who we are as a species. As specialists find quantitative evidence that music lights up the brain, a natural question for the music advocate is, “to what degree is the brain changed by hearing music?” If music creates neurological pathways, certainly music should be at the center of education, and life itself.