22 Jul 2013

Music and Me

By Ezim Osai, 9JEducation
Monday, July 22 2013

Time does change, but the music it remains the same…
Without my music, where would I be?
Music & Me : Nate Dogg

In Choices and Decisions, I talked about how the kind of music we listened to affected our behavioral pattern and attitudes. Today, I want to talk about the importance of music to society in general.
Music is based on an individual’s perception; it varies from person to person and place to place. While some people live for rap music, some others find it boring. While some live for rock music, a number find it noisy. While some live for electronic music, most people I have met find it irritating. While some live for classical music, quite a few persons find it slow and non-thrilling. Personally, I love at least one song from all genres of music that I know of.
The society itself loves music and I do not know of any society that exists without music.
We have national anthems, state anthems; school anthems, hostel anthems and a host of others just to show us how important music is. Music is one of the most inspirational forces that exist in this world and the rise in the number of musicians these days seems to be a testament to that fact. There are a lot decisions which I take personally that were based on songs I heard repeatedly. We all love music; listening to it, creating it, dancing to it, singing along with it, playing it to our friends and what not, but what exactly is the right kind of music to listen to? When I say ‘right kind’ I mean it scientifically not morally ok?

I read an article about music a while back and according to it, some experiments were carried out using white mice somewhere in the United States I think. The mice were put in a maze without listening to music and they completed it in about four minutes. Next, they were put in the same maze but this time with heavy metal playing; they completed the maze in about seven minutes, and finally they were put in the same maze with classical music playing and they completed it in less than three minutes. The article went on to say that classical music enhances spatial geometry in human beings and is a stimulant to learning. This part, I tried out myself. Last year during my second semester examinations, a few minutes before any paper, I would listen to Johann Sebastian Bach’s ‘Air on the G String’ and then step inside the examination hall and no matter how difficult the questions were, I found that I was never flustered. The calming effect of the music extended beyond the exam hall as well. I found out that when I listened to classical music, I was able to actually concentrate better when writing short stories or articles than when I wrote with Rock or Metal. In truth, when I initially started writing I was listening to a Lil Wayne song and I could not even articulate a sentence. Now, I am listening to Andrea Bocelli’s Con Te Partiro and I am almost five hundred words in ha-ha.
Needless to dwell much on this point, I would suggest that we listen to music to boost our IQs once in a while even if we may not really like the songs. Think of it as taking multivites or cod liver oil, we may hate drugs but we take them because the doctors say they are good for us or because we see the effects.

For those of us who would want to have children, it would be of great value to them and you as well if they are introduced to music from the womb and introduced to musical instruments as soon as they are able to walk. An article I read a few weeks back suggested that from when a fetus is about seven months old, it may be able to hear sounds from the outside and that music would be able to reach it. The importance of exposing a child to music from an early age can be easily seen in the life of the prodigy, Mozart who wrote in all the musical genres of his day and excelled in every one. He had played at the Bavarian Court in Munich with his younger sister before he was six years old!  Mozart was already a musical genius at the age of ten and that was because his parents had provided him with instruments to learn with right from when he was a baby. The same way we would not know how to read and write if our parents did not provide us with books and the same way some of us would not know how to write stories and articles if we never had novels and newspapers in our homes.

The Christian bible says ‘Teach a child the way to behave and he shall not depart from it’ (That was a rough paraphrase but you get the gist). Music is as important an aspect in the development of a child as any other. Music has a direct link to the emotions and we find that when we are sad, there are certain songs we listen to; when we are happy, we play our ‘victory songs’; when we are angry, we play our ‘don’t touch me’ songs and we find that when we love a song we take joy in sharing it with other people. If a child is given proper orientation about music from an early age, he would learn to harness the hidden power it carries and appreciate the beauty lying with the words, textures and rhythms. Even in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, we read that the young prince Ferdinand was guided to Prospero’s Cell by the sound of Ariel’s music. Recently, I watched a movie titled August Rush about music as well and needless to say, that was the best movie I have watched all year. Music reaches where ordinary words fail and speaks to something deep in the mind of a man that no scientist can reach.

We overlook certain things not because we do not like them but because we do not know how important they could be and music is one of such things. The use of music in cartoons, movies and even in ebooks nowadays is a testament to the power of music. Exposing our yet unborn children to music at a very early age will enhance their brainpower and give them something to do other than watch television or play with toys. Our parents may not have exposed us to music mostly because they never knew what it could do or simply because the resources were unavailable in their own time, but in this day and age, we can get entire albums from the internet for almost free, save the cost of our internet subscriptions which are getting cheaper exponentially. It does not cost more than a little time, but when we know that we are giving something immeasurable, we should be content with that fact that our children will grow up better than we did.

Right now, Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers is playing and I can already see my daughter in a field of sunflowers waltzing with the man of her dreams in the sunset ha-ha. Music is the language of the soul and while our bodies know how to speak, so should our hearts. I have no words to describe the beauty of music but I do know that music changed my life.
And so my dear friends, until next time,

Ezim Osai is a 200L Physics major at the University of Ibadan. A Taoist and a Christian, he loves Cooking, Travelling, Reading, Writing, and loves to absorb nature.

1 comment:

  1. OMG!!! I must have watched August Rush about 10 times already. LOL. I love that movie. My sons, 6 and 2 are already learning Music. Nice one Ezim. Music is indeed powerful.