We really are fascinated by music psychology here at Open Ear and the increased press coverage on the subject has been pretty good lately. We’re often left disappointed, however, when no tie is made between research and what it means for us in the ‘real world’. A new BBC article has successfully brought the two together, and really shows the importance of doing so.
Music is a powerful thing. Its ability to give us an increased neurological sense of space and time is well documented. We’ve recently discussed its practical applications for those with Parkinson’s disease, while the BBC article looks at musical learning for children with ADHD. It’s great that music can be used in these ways but for the rest of us; ‘so what?’
For those of us who don’t play music all this doesn’t sound very important. Music is an entertainment for us, not something controlling our world. Yet increasing cuts in arts funding means fewer people will get the opportunity to learn to play music. What does that mean for the brain development of coming generations? At a time when time and space are being increasingly stretched in the digital world, the ability to situate yourself in time and space may prove to be invaluable. We’re certainly not suggesting that future generations will lose all spatial awareness and be bumping into things all the time but with less structural support, the brain is bound to change. At a time when we’re only just starting to get insights into how the brain functions in relation to music, can we really start cutting off the musical supply?