Today, imagining a world without music is impossible. Music has become a part of us helping mentally, physically, academically, medically, financially, and morally. Evolving Technology in Musical Education & Lifestyle 2021 review unveils how the technology in music has been impacting musical education and lifestyle for years, how it affects now during the coronavirus pandemic, and the ultimate post-pandemic transition of the music industry and Social Media.
Evidently, music education and training musical instruments as a child don’t limit to a mere subject, but it medically works as a pathway to open up the skills and creativity of the children’s mind that benefits them in any other subject matter. As Albert Einstein once reminded us, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”, and music helps build our imagination in many ways than we may imagine.
Why Is Technology In Music Class & Life Important?
The human brain is wired in such a way that the brain can easily distinguish music from noise. Music has shown proven positive effects on the human brain. And at present, as a matter of fact, anything lacking technology is typically believed to be “boring”, and improving technology in music has indeed made music closer to our lives.
“Technology leads the future. Education and technology are two basic elements that play an important role in bringing human life into a more active state and music brings them together. “ says Balıkesir University graduate Gökalp Parasiz in a universal journal of educational research article.
Discussing the technology in music, even instruments such as guitars and pianos are pretty good examples. For instance, BBC addresses the electric guitar as “the electric spark that changed the guitar forever”. In history, acoustic guitars were simply being used for both country and big band music, but they weren’t quite loud enough to compete with other loud instruments. The evolution of the Electric Guitar technology was the ultimate solution and with continuously improving technology there is a wide range of Electric Guitars to choose from and some trans-acoustic guitars as well in that matter. And in fact, some young people and kids are using Music & playing Guitars as an escape from the stressful early life and school experiences. Famous author Mark Manson once mentioned, “I was new at my high school. I had no friends and felt out of place my first year-and-a-half there…. I was forced to confront my social anxiety … It didn’t help that I was overweight, poorly dressed, and terrible at sports …. I struggled to make friends and be accepted. Guitar helped me do that. It was the first thing I found that I was good at and that was also cool. Therefore, I adopted it as my identity.”
One brilliant example to prove that musical education is never limited only to those who are aspiring to be musicians someday.
Musical Education for Children is Fundamental.
The Wall Street Journal states that according to research, music learning and training boosts “IQ focus and persistence”, while PLOS ONE expresses that music unleashes flexible thinking style, creativity, divergent thinking in those who associate music as children. “Divergent thinking” is beneficial not only during one’s school-age but also as an adult, as it simply brings out one’s power of the creative solutions generated in their head by thinking flexibly and by ‘digging elsewhere’ rather than only “digging deep”. The article further explains that “digging deep” takes a lot of effort and could lead to compromised results unlike the “digging elsewhere” that lets one invent and innovate.
On the other hand, one of the K-12DIVE articles states that according to stats and research, some of New York City’s highest-performing students spend much of their time studying music.
The reason is explained and justified in Medical Express as, “Music training can change both the structure of the brain’s white matter, which carries signals through the brain and gray matter, which contains most of the brain’s neurons that are active in processing information. Music instruction also boosts engagement of brain networks that are responsible for decision making and the ability to focus attention and inhibit impulses.”
Slow classical music is often suggested to have smoothing effects in between many other genres. One of the most highlighted mental influences inspired by music is the “Mozart Effect”, which refers to the theory that listening to music may temporarily boost scores on one portion of an IQ test. Through observation, it was said that many musicians have unusual mathematical abilities, evidently, due to this effect. Adding to the facts, the U.S.Department of Education has mentioned in the Well Rounded Curriculum that, “arts significantly boost student achievement, reduce discipline problems, and increase the odds that students will go on to graduate from college.”, also, that arts education “stimulates creativity and innovation that will prove critical to young Americans competing in a global economy.” And as third reasoning they have added, “..arts are valuable for their own sake… Low-income students who play in the orchestra or band are more than twice as likely to perform at the highest levels in math as peers who do not play music.“
Ostensibly, music as a subject, a career, or as a hobby helps release the student-stress and employee-stress as well. The journal from PLOS ONE also describes that happy music (commonly classical tunes) “helps people perform better on tasks that involve divergent thinking, which is a core component of creativity. Basically, divergent thinking is coming up with new, outside-the-box ideas or strategies”.
As it’s justified how musical education helps us mentally & academically, we may briefly address the development and evolving technology (summed-up) of the music recording business, just before we unravel the benefits of music to life physically, medically, financially, and morally.
Journey of Music Recording
And today’s hero is the “computer” that we all know of.
From synthesizers to DAWs or from CD players to iPhones. The landscape of music has changed for good and for the better as a result of technological development in the music industry.
Benefits Of Music To Life & Health
According to Arnold Steinhardt, a founding member and first violinist of the Guarneri String Quartet, a chamber of music audiences include many healthcare practitioners, “everything from podiatrists to psychiatrists, since there seems to be a mysterious and powerful underground railroad linking medicine and music. Perhaps music is an equally effective agent of healing, and doctors and musicians are part of a larger order serving the needs of mankind. Perhaps they recognize each other as brothers and sisters”, stated Harvard Health Publishing.
Researchers at Stanford University have reported that “listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication”. Listening to music can release dopamine, which is called “the pleasure chemical”, the same chemical that is released while eating or having sex in that matter. As a result, listening to music helps improve mood, reducing anxiety & stress, and facilitating creative insights.
According to recent studies of the NLM-National Centre for Biotechnology Information, musical training facilitates the rehabilitation of patients recovering from stroke and other types of brain damage/injuries, proving the powerful medical approach of music to life.
Catherine Loveday from the University of Westminster translates her opinion into words; “Music reaches parts of the brain that other things can’t”.
Particularly benefitting the children, the qualified researchers in the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health argue that music and playing instruments may have the capability of helping boost speech processing and learning in children with dyslexia and other language impairments.
How can music be so powerful as a medicine for life?
Current findings of University of Nevada, Reno, stipulate that music is around 60 beats per minute that can cause the brain to synchronize with the beat causing alpha brain waves (frequencies from 8 – 14 hertz or cycles per second). Alpha brain-waves normally appear in our brain when we stay relaxed and conscious. Devoting at least 45 minutes listening to calming music and in a relaxed position may induce sleep by producing a delta brain-wave of 5 hertz.
Evolving Technology in Lifestyle
Music is addictive that it has become a major component in life we cannot live without. A career in music doesn’t only limit to making songs, singing, or playing instruments, the music industry in fact is vast and the number of diverse career opportunities is incredible.
What if music can help you focus more and develop your problem-solving skills? Oh yes, it does! The power of focus is always a challenge in the busy technology-centric world and lifestyle and music works like a key to success helping you focus.
“Sleep” is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. A trend mirrored in the United States with approximately 50–70 million American adults reporting sleep difficulties. There are hundreds of gadgets invented and many consultation services/activities that eventually rob you of attempting to get you the needed amount of sleep, with no consistent results. Many people suffer from insomnia or other sleep disorders as a result. But development in the music industry provides you with the most affordable solutions, and one of them is mobile apps that play soothing brain-wave stimulation music to put you right into sleep, hassle-free. Basically, the music in those apps is made using the same technology as mothers singing lullabies to put the infants and kids to sleep.
Also, as we grow older, pervasive declines in our nervous system function and neural timing delays in response to fast-changing speech elements become another phase people go through making them experience difficulty in understanding speech, especially in challenging listening environments. Through research, it is found that “older adults with a lifetime of music training do not exhibit neural timing delays”. Well, music can keep you young forever, without a doubt!
Magic behind lullabies;
Sleep Foundation summarizes; “The ability to hear music depends on a series of steps that convert sound waves coming into the ear into electrical signals in the brain.” A torrent of physical effects is triggered within the body as the brain interprets these sounds. The sounds either directly promote sleep or reduce issues that interfere with sleep. Studies prove that music that is around 60-80 BPM can stimulate sleep feelings syncing with the normal resting heart rates to range from 60 to 100 BPM.
Music Can Build A Culture Or Shatter One...
Music is an influence and a musician is an influencer. Music sets moods and creates atmospheres and human beings tend to follow what’s “latest” and “trending”. Most people when happy hear music that brings joy, and in anger/stress they may follow aggressive music such as Hard metal only to express their feelings through music. The tones and sounds or lyrics of music could create a powerful impact on people and today we could see a plethora of songs with lyrics that glorify sex, drugs, and violence.
Below is a highschool science-fair experiment that made article headlines as “Hard rock music creates killer mice!”,
“Mice were grouped and trained to run mazes. The groups of mice listened to classical music, hard rock, or no music. The classical mice became faster in running the maze, whereas the hard-rock mice became slower. The student performing the study stated, “I had to cut my project short because all the hard-rock mice killed each other. . . . None of the classical mice did that” Eaton, 1997.
It isn’t a secret that there are many music pieces created promoting different ethnic/religious groups and beliefs, and some songs/lyrics convey contrary meanings when played in reverse. According to lead researcher Craig A. Anderson, Ph.D. “Aggressive thoughts can influence perceptions of ongoing social interactions, coloring them with an aggressive tint. Such aggression-biased interpretations can, in turn, instigate a more aggressive response — verbal or physical —…”
On the other hand, some music tells stories and holds legends from the past generations, so it is important to understand the “Right” and “Wrong” music to build culture and society.
As the Sounds of the Underground Tour expresses it; “Music isn’t a thing, it’s a lifestyle. We live by our songs and we all love by our songs. It gives us hope when we would like to give up and tells us we aren’t lonely and misunderstood when we feel as we’re. It is a healer. “
Has The Pandemic Changed The Music Forever?
Modern technology allows us to stay connected maintaining continuous communication even during the roughest times of the Coronavirus pandemic. With the pandemic travel restrictions and social distancing requirements, musicians have still found ways to entertain the globe. Social media & YouTube have been the most effective platforms for live-streaming, subscriptions, online/drive-in concerts, TikTok, and online gaming which have taken the world to a brand new phase.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, musicians have started collaborating making fans’ dreams come true. Some Musicians were also involved in charity fundraising activities by performing online from home/home-studios (Lady Gaga performs during One World: Together At Home presented by Global Citizen in April 2020). Some believe that artists have come closer to their fans as a result of the pandemic condition conducting facetime, live chats & videos with fans, and holding balcony shows with their neighbors to keep the crowd entertained.
Streaming figures have grown rapidly.
In the UK, the BBC has reported an 18% increase in listenership across its radio stations, while over in the US, Los Angeles’ KNX has seen a whopping 44% increase in listenership. Even those countries such as Middle-Eastern countries who have not been pretty much crazy fans of music, in general, have shown a great interest in streaming during the Covid break.
Music students are still able to continue training and education through convenient online modes such as Zoom classes and thankfully many technical studies related to music (especially sound engineering using systems such as DAW / MIDI) are anyway carried out through computer devices. Learning instruments online could be a bit challenging but many well-reputed applications such as Garage Band, Soundtrap, Symphony Pro, Drum Set, etc. are made to make it all easy as a piece of cake.
Music always finds its way around to be with and inside of people. Music is, undeniably, a medicine of mind!