Why Study Music?
Music is a Science
It is exact, specific, and it demands exact acoustics. A conductor's full score is a chart, a graph that indicates frequencies, volume exchanges, melody, and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of time.
Music is Mathematical
It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions that must be done instantaneously not worked out on paper.
Music is a Foreign Language
Most of the terms are in Italian, German or French, and the notation is certainly not English - but a highly developed kind of shorthand that uses symbols to represent ideas. The semantics of music is the most complete and universal language.
Music is History
Music usually reflects the environment and times of its creation often even the country and/or racial feeling.
Music is Physical Education
It requires fantastic coordination of fingers, hands, arms, lip, cheek and facial muscles, in addition to extraordinary control of the diaphragmatic, back, stomach, and chest muscles, which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and the mind interprets.
Music is all these things but most of all, Music is Art
It allows a human being to take all these dry, technically boring (but difficult), techniques and use them to create emotion. That is one that science cannot duplicate: humanism, feeling, emotion, call it what you will.
That is why Music should be studied-
Not because the child is expected to major in music
Not because the child is expected to play or sing always
Not so the child can relax
Not only so the child can have fun
So the child will be human
So the child will recognize beauty
So the child will be sensitive
So the child will be closer to an infinite beyond this world
So the child will have something to cling to
So the child will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good - in short, more life
Of what value will it be to prepare the child to make a prosperous living unless the child also learns how to live?
That is why Music should be studied
Reprinted from the PMEA News, Official publication of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association