Reflecting upon the many benefits of playing a musical instrument.
My Virtual Choir interview with medical student Laura Slattery has inspired a lively discussion on musicians in medical school.
One of my piano parents inquired what makes music lessons so attractive to university faculties such as medicine and engineering. In the 1990s, Lewis Thomas, a physician and biologist conducted a study on undergraduate majors of medical school applicants. Of all successful applicants, 66% of them were music majors.
Closer to home, I can tell you that many of my former teacher's students have gone on to study engineering, another demanding program. One of the best pianists from my university piano class went on to be a surgeon. Another friend earned the Gold Medal in his graduating class at the University of Lethbridge and later went onto become a Rhodes Scholar, completing his Ph.D. thesis analysing the works of writer James Joyce, while playing trombone in community orchestra - for fun!
Music study involves so many parts of the brain, teaching everything from creative expression to analysis, ingenuity to working under pressure and from self-discipline to project management. And much more. These are all skills that are valued in medicine and engineering.
I have done a couple of blog entries on how "music lessons make you smarter" ("A New Study on the Benefits of Music Education" and "Why Study Music"). But don't take my word on it. Check out this latest set of articles:
- Will Piano Lessons Make My Child Smarter?
- Keyboards for Kids: Teaching Music, Building Brains
- Can Music Really Make You Smarter?
(c) 2007 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.
Historians have found that the further back into history we go, the more important music was to older civilizations. Ancient Greeks, for example, believed that music was the key to the cosmos. Pythagoras the famous mathematician, not only developed the theorem for right angles, but was lauded for his discovery of the ratios of intervals in music. Both were considered of equal importance. The benefits for studying music
haven’t changed much over the centuries. Numerous studies have shown that students who study music, achieve higher grades than their non-musical counterparts. Higher grades is just part of the equation. Here is just a synopsis of the benefits:
- time and project management skills
- analytical skills
- improved academic performance (between 34 – 80% higher), especially in math and the sciences
- high spatial-temporal abilities
- enhanced communication skills
- teamwork skills (ensemble work)
For more information, you can visit the following sites:
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