“Music happens to be an art form that transcends language”
-Herbie Hancock

How do you interact with music? Do you ever find yourself with a song that’s stuck in your head? Do songs take you back to particular memories or people?

Image: Importance of Musical Education

Source: Brain Health

Our connection to music is unlike that to any other form of art. Whether you are a fan of rock, jazz, classical, or something in between, the way you experience music is unique to your brain. As it turns out, both our experiences with music as children and our musical education may explain that.

I’d like to share a very insightful TED Talk with you today on this topic.  We’ll also hear how music opens our minds and allows us to think for ourselves.

Check out Richard Gill on the value of musical education:

For many of us, one of the most memorable moments of our early education occurs when we first create something from our own imagination. Whether sculpting in clay or drawing a colorful sunset, our first days in art class have the potential to change the course of our lives. 

Personally creating something out of nothing is very empowering. If we learn about our potential to do that at an early age, we will think for ourselves and be positive agents for change our whole lives.

As Richard Gill points out, musical education can both give us similarly powerful experiences as well as enhance other aspects of our education. 

Image: Sax and music

Source: Vaughn Music Studios

I remember taking my first saxophone lessons, in the 5th grade.  Richard Gill’s insight makes me feel thankful for what I learned.

One of the biggest “takeaway” messages for me from this TED Talk is that music education is very unique in the way it affects the brain.  At an early age, it helps us develop the ability to think for ourselves and make completely unique connections creatively. What would this world look like if we had more of that?

So why are we not funding musical education with vigor? Maybe this TED Talk can change that. Share it with people you know who might not realize how different the brain can grow when introduced to the wonder of music.

Looking to experience some powerful moments you might associate with an earlier time in your life?  Why not consider enhancing your own music education?  As Richard Gill points out, music can offer the genuine excitement, novelty, and desire to create that drives human potential.

And Here’s a Major Connection

If you’ve got a few more minutes, take a look at an amazing article we did not long ago called Bobby McFerrin Hack Our Brains.  There you will watch sound artist Bobby McFerrin demonstrate how “hard wired” an entire audience is for music and connection. Fascinating fun! Check it out!

7 minutes

Bobby McFerrin Hacks Our Brains

Can a brilliant musical mind prove that we all have an innate instinct for music? Take a look at Bobby McFerrin, of "Be Happy" fame, on the stage at the World Science Festival, in a very fun demonstration that surprised everyone!

Read More

Be Curious, Coexist, and Explore

~Ethan Sawyer

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  1. Gill, Richard. “TEDxSydney – Richard Gill – The Value of Music Education.”YouTube. TEDx Talks, 15 June 2011. Web. 3 Dec. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeRus3NVbwE>.

Ethan Sawyer attended Saint Johnsbury Academy in Vermont as a youth, where he started developing his passion and gift for music, specifically playing guitar at the edge of a creative genius that is easy to see. He attends the Berklee College of Music and is continuing to elevate his skills and music career. When not at Berklee, he lives in Fairfax, Vermont.