Music’s Impact on the Human Mind

Today, music education becomes more and more popular due to its positive impact on human mind and psychology. However, the positive impact of music on individual development has been underestimated. As a result, music education was not fully developed. However, in recent years, educators have started to pay more attention to music education revealing its positive impact on the development of students’ memory, learning skills, emotional state, etc. Hence, the further integration of music education in the modern education system is needed.

Traditionally, music constituted an essential part of human culture and, today, music is one of the most popular forms of art. At the same time, the educational power of music has been underestimated in the USA and it is only in the late 20th ”“ early 21st century music and art education has started to be implemented in the modern education system. In actuality, music regains its positions not only as a form of art but also as a part of aesthetic as well as intellectual development of students. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that many researchers (Anyon, 1992) have proved the positive impact of music on human mind, especially memory. In such a way, it is obvious that music should be larger implemented in the modern education in order to expand the scope of modern education from narrow academic education to broad aesthetic and intellectual education which leads to the formation of well-developed personalities, instead of well-qualified specialists which are able to work in specific fields only.

On analyzing the educational potential of music and American education system, it should be said that the potential of music has been underestimated for a long period of time and it is only in recent years educators have started to pay more attention to aesthetic education, art education, including music education. In actuality, music education is highly beneficial to the USA. On the one hand, music education contributes to the aesthetic development of students since they learn to understand music, analyze it and appreciate it as a form of art. The latter leads to the spiritual development of students and to the enlargement of their cultural views and values. On the other hand, music education stimulates the intellectual development of students since it has a positive impact on human mind, especially memory.

At this point, it is necessary to refer to studies dedicated to the problem of the impact of music and music education on human mind. In the early 20th century, researchers began to extensively study memory. Since then, there have been tremendous advances in the knowledge of how the mind processes information. The mind is composed of a very complex system of neural networks that transfers information from one section to another. The study of these networks is an ongoing process, because there is still much to learn. From this research, many factors have been found that seem to affect memory. Included in these factors are attention, stress, emotion, music, and aging.

In this respect, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that specialists (Larkin, 2001) argue that music produces a significant impact on human emotions since, as a rule, under the impact of music people tend to change their emotions and mood. Obviously, the change of the emotional state of people clearly indicates at the impact of music on human mind because emotions cannot exist separately from mind activity. At the same time, as music can influence mind, than it would be logical to presuppose that music can influence human memory as well because certain parts of the mind are responsible for the storage and processing of human memory and if they are exposed to the impact of music than these mind areas can be stimulated. In such a context, the research should give the answer to the question following question what the effects of music on memory are, and, namely, whether these effects are positive or negative.

The memory is a mental system that receives, stores, organizes, alters and recovers information from sensory input. Sensory memory, short-term memory and long-term memory are the three basic types. Information first enters sensory memory, which holds an exact copy of the data for a few seconds. Short-term memory is the next step, and it holds small quantities of information for a brief period longer than sensory memory. Selective attention is utilized at this time to regulate what information is transferred to short-term memory. Unimportant information is removed permanently (Coon, 1997).

Another name for short-term memory is working memory, which describes the thinking and problem solving aspects. Short-term memory, according to psychologist George Miller, can hold a “magic number” of seven (plus or minus two) bits of information. Bits are units of information such as numbers, phrases or words. Information is held in short-term memory by two types of rehearsal. Maintenance rehearsal refers to silently repeating or mentally reviewing information. Elaborative rehearsal connects the new information with existing information (Coon, 1997).

Many areas of the mind are used to process information. However, the hippocampus is the section that transfers information into long-term memory. This type of memory contains all of the presorted important information in a relatively permanent and limitless storage. Long-term memory also organizes information for easy recovery (Coon, 1997).

Music has an amazing power to influence human emotions and behavior. It has been found to affect and stimulate many different parts of the mind and body. Psychological study of music is based on this reason. Studies have found that music can reduce stress, aid relaxation, alleviate depression, and help store and recall information among other functions. William Congreve once stated that “music has the charms to soothe the savage beast”. Stress is reduced through music by decreasing the amount of the hormone cortisone released in the body. This can be applied to everyday life for stress relief (Music and Stress, 1998).

In such a way, it is obvious that music education has a positive impact on human mind as well as emotions. Consequently, it is important to start music education at possibly earlier age because children at the early age are particularly capable to learning and it is easier for them to learn at the early age, when they form their basic skills and abilities, which are later developed in the course of their further education. As a result, if the music education gets started in the elementary school, students are accustomed to music and music education becomes an essential part of their learning process producing a positive impact on the overall development of students, both intellectual and cultural.

Educators have already understood the positive impact of music education on the development of students. Today, music education is more consistent and widely spread than it used to be in the past. In fact, in the past, music education was the prerogative of a few, while, today, educators attempt to introduce music education on the common basis making music education available to all students, instead of a few as it used to be in the past. Moreover, on analyzing music education in the context of public schools and compulsory education, it should be said that there was practically no music education in the past, while, today, music education is highly prospective since it can facilitating the learning process for students, who do like music, and it broadens the eyesight of students studying in public schools.

Thus, in conclusion, it should be said that music education is growing to be more and more popular today, but the use of music education is still insufficient in the modern education system. In fact, the modern education still fails to use the full potential of music. In this respect, it worth reminding that music contributes to the intellectual and aesthetic development of students since it has a positive impact on the development of human mind, especially memory, attention, etc. Hence, music education should be implemented en mass in the modern education system.

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