This is my third post inspired by Beethoven’s belief that “music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks, and invents.” The more I think about this topic, the more I am inspired to push for music to be actively promoted as an effective tool of education. I fully realize that music (and the rest of the arts, for that matter) are commonly viewed as expendable parts of our culture and education system, so this week I have made it a goal of mine to promote the benefits of music as an impetus for learning.
My personal and professional experiences have proven to me time and time again that music can, when used correctly, establish a positive learning environment that allows for comprehension, creativity, and discovery. It does this in several ways, including the following:
Music facilitates a multi-sensory learning experience: It is no secret that the most impactful learning experiences are the ones that involve multiple senses. Think of some of your favorite scenes from movies that were intended to teach you a thing or two about history, love, or life. Chances are that certain songs were as relevant to your cinematic experience as the visuals flashing on the screen. Music can be an amazing stirrer of emotions, and I wholeheartedly recommend its inclusion when trying to teach or learn an important lesson.
Music enhances imagination: In addition to stimulating creativity, music contributes to the development of a more active imagination. Einstein, known as perhaps the most creative genius of the 20th century, often turned to music to help with his creative process. He recognized an unexplainable link between music and his science: “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music. I get most joy in life out of music.” When forced to confront moments of unclarity, Einstein would cozy up to the piano and, after playing just a few keys, would confidently claim “There, now I’ve got it!” There was something about music that ushered his thoughts in fresh and creative directions.
If the inclusion of music at critical points in his storied career worked well for Einstein, I strongly suggest we give it a try. Beethoven, it seems, would agree.