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Music's Place

An article about performing-Arts and music-related topic

By Ralph Schatzki

for La CoffeeMelodie Suite

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    There are only a few things - food and shelter, for example - that we need in order to survive. On the other hand, there are a myriad of things (a yacht, for example) we don't need at all but want out of simple desire, vanity, insecurity, hedonism, or some other human impulse

    Music falls far closer to the food and shelter end of the spectrum than it does to the yacht end. For while it may be true that one could still live without music, the simple yet undeniable fact is that few would want to; or, at the very least, would bemoan the loss as something that affected them profoundly. It truly is a staple of humanity.

    Can you think of a day in which you don't hear music, whether it be on television, in an elevator or a building lobby, on the car radio or walking through the mall? Think, too, about the times when you actively sought out a musical experience, from listening to your MP3 player to going to hear a band at the corner hangout to going to a concert. Music is everywhere, even- especially - inside us. Who hasn't hummed something as he was walking or doing a simple chore, sung in the shower now and again, or just had a tune run through your mind?

    The most important thing is that this music-making is not trivial. There is a wealth of evidence showing that music is not only good for our souls, but for our brains, as well. Musical students perform better academically than their non-musical peers, so perhaps our seemingly frivolous emotional attachment to it is grounded also in the practical consideration that it simply makes us smarter.

    Music nourishes your soul and is critical to your overall well-being. If you are dedicated and talented it could also well be your way of making it in the world. For it to continue to thrive, though, we must have musical experts who can teach and pass along their knowledge to successive generations, and we must also ensure they are given adequate support. Too often, music education - both in the public schools as well as through private instructors - is viewed as expendable or discretionary, despite the central role music plays in our lives. Clearly, food and shelter have initial precedence, but music and music education should be far more highly prized than they are currently.

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