Music and Language

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Before we begin, I have a question for you. What languages do you speak? There are many languages all around the world, Chinese, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, French, Arabic, etc… One language many people don’t recognize is music. I speak music fairly well, although I am still learning, I speak music on the Clarinet, the Piano, and the Alto Saxophone. Eventually I am going to learn the Trombone and the Bagpipes as well. I have played the piano for 12 years now, the Clarinet for 4, the Ukulele for 1 year, the Sax for 1 year, and the Guitar for a few months. Because I have been learning instruments for so long I have learned that music is a language. Once I got into Junior High, I started thinking about whether I would take Band, or Orchestra. I decided on Band and am happy with this choice, but I thought to myself that it should also count as a foreign language. Here are my reasons why.  Music stimulates and activates the same parts of the brain that are used when speaking. Music is a universal language that everyone can understand. You can communicate through music.

 

Music stimulates the brain and activates the same parts use when speaking. Learning to play an instrument is just like learning to speak a language. When you learn an instrument, you are taught by someone who already knows how. When you learn a language, it is the same thing. If you embrace your mistakes in music just as you are encouraged when you mispronounce a word, it will benefit you, ( ed.ted.com ). The thing is, there are people who can’t speak or understand any language but music gets to them every time. They get the meaning of the music, and it acts like a language for them. It is one of the few activities that stimulate the entire brain,( brain.oxfordjournals.org ).

 

This can also mean that music is universal. Music can be understood by anybody, anywhere, anytime. Every culture that has ever been discovered has music. This is because music is the language of thought itself. When you listen to an amazing piece of music, it influences your emotions. Music can make you feel happy, sad, angry even.  Music is the voice of nature,( www.bu.edu ). When you are watching a movie, 9 times out of 10, the reason you feel sad or happy is because of the music. Music is humans trying to recreate the beauty of the world around us,( music.arts.edu ). Quite simply, emotions and language can be expressed through music but music cannot be described by language. you don’t feel the same reading lyrics to a song as you do singing or listening to it.

 

You can communicate with music just like having a conversation. In ancient times some cultures would use drums to communicate over long distances,( musicsociety.wordpress.com ). This wasn’t quite music, but in today’s world we have something very similar. It’s called improv. Scientists did a study to see what goes on in a musician’s brain while doing improv.  They did a scan while two musicians were doing an improv battle. What they found was really quite remarkable. As the musician played the music, they could see brain activity in the same areas used when we speak. The only difference was that there wasn’t brain activity in the area used to process the meaning of the words,( www.ciu.com ). When we speak all we are doing is improv. When we rehearse a speech or memorize something, it is the same as playing a piece of music you have been working on for a while. Music is a language.

 

Some may argue that because music does not activate every part of the brain that is activated when speaking, music cannot be a language. My question for them is, if that is the case, why did our brains develop to a potential far beyond language. What if music is a language that our brains just haven’t finished figuring out yet. The other thing that is neat about music is, that is what makes music universal. It’s what makes it understandable to everyone.

 

In conclusion I believe that we should all think of music as a language, because it is universal, uses the same parts of the brain as language, and finally because you can communicate through it. Lets all learn to speak music.