A new study out of McGill University in Montreal showing that music triggers a release of dopamine in the brain helps to explain the popularity of music across cultures. In the study, brain scanning instruments documented both the anticipation and the arrival of a musical “rush,” felt in varying degrees by those enjoying different types of music. With that in mind, wouldn’t you like to explore music in your life?
As a teacher, I feel like an archeologist, carefully extracting each person’s unique musical talent. Some of my best students may at first think they have no musical talent. But when they address their fear of failure, they conquer obstacles that set them free, giving them confidence not just in music but in other areas of their lives. Many students even begin to compose their own music, developing yet another creative aspect to explore. (Sometimes, they can even take home a CD from the lesson!)
I believe everyone has some degree of musical talent. Everyone learns in a different way and teaching techniques must adjust to the individual student. But, regardless of age, young children, older youth and adults can all benefit from taking lessons in music.
I especially enjoy teaching toddlers with their caretakers. We chant, play different percussive instruments, play with homemade instruments, and have a blast! This is a great way to introduce the youngest children to music. (This is also an amazing method to teach adults how to play music, because they release their inhibitions!)
The 3- to 5-year-olds learn very well together in a group class. They enjoy playing different instruments, marching, listening to all kinds of music and “playing band.” They begin to discover how music is put together and hear what instruments play which parts, such as the difference between a snare drum and a kick drum.
The 6-year-olds on up to adult are ready for private lessons. The famous philosopher Marcus Aurelius said that the best way to spend your money is on private lessons. Private lessons will address your wants and needs, which are specific to each individual.
In any class, you’ll learn that there are three basic elements of music: math, timbre and rhythm.
Math includes the written language of music, each note signifying the duration of time. Many studies show that understanding how to read and write music helps to improve I.Q. and math scores. Einstein said that the concept of math in music helped him understand the theory of relativity!
Timbre relates to the “texture” of sound, such as the unique quality of sound created by a person’s fingers and voice.
Rhythm is the repetitive nature of life echoed through music. A horse, For example, has three gaits – a walk, trot and canter – rhythms that can be imitated by a musical instrument. Many human movements have a repetitive nature that sound beautiful when imitated this way.
Lessons are a great way to learn more about music and yourself. Make this the year to explore your inner musician!
Lisa Carlon Underhill studied composition and bass at University of Louisville and has studied piano, voice, keyboards and guitar with many other teachers. Underhill teaches guitar, bass, piano, keyboards, voice and composition in the Cherokee Triangle area. She can be reached at (502) 459-7755.