Teen Insider: Music Connects All

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Music is a gift. The right kind of music, not lyrics of “blah blah blah” but a song on the piano, a voice lifting through the air, the whistle of the wind. Its the gift we get, the gift we feel when we listen to music.

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Its weird to say that music keeps people together, and sometimes the lyrics of a song  or how to play a musical instrument are the only things that some people remember.  So why is it that if a budget were to fail or something has to be cut from school, music would be the first option?

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Just the other day I was at my friends house and we walked down the street to his grandparents house where their family eats dinner every night. Just like my grandpa,  his grandfather has Alzheimers. I have been over several times, last night being one of them. When I walked in my friend asked him if he remembered me, he said of course, then asked my name when his grandson walked away. I told him it like it was the first time we met.  We sat at the table talking while his grandpa hummed along with contributing in the conversation. My friend got up, grabbed a harmonica and handed it to his grandfather, his grandfather picked it up and played as if it were nothing. His grandfather forgets he had dinner twice already, but he plays this harmonica just as he would blink his eye, or breathe for that matter.

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Every Sunday I do volunteer work in a town right by me; it is like a camp from 9 to 12 for children with special needs. I work with kids with autism, there are two kids in particular, they are very difficult and don’t really like to listen, but they do react to music. They dance and will stop when they hear a song. Music class, my favorite class to go in with them, on good days, they sit and interact by singing the songs and playing the instruments. They rarely remember my name as a seven year old, but they remember the words to songs. Every week the teacher goes over a few of the same songs and hell stop at a word and wait for them to fill in the blank; the music gets them to stop, and really think. When they get to bang the drums they sing, its astonishing how much music impacts them and gets a child who has trouble connecting, to really pay attention.

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It inspiring  how important music is, how much of an impact it leaves on anyone. Not just an elderly with Alzheimers, or a child with autism, but sitting in the car you can hear a 2 year old singing to a song that comes on the radio, or shows up from Barney on TV. The nursery rhymes that are read to them every night, or just a tune they can walk around humming. The way music moves a person, getting them to feel like a part of something, emotionally by the words or by the sound.

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Its when  a song comes on the radio and makes you smile, or how a person can walk into a room, and Broadway show and not know a word to a song and have the beat stuck in their head. A rhythm sticks, a song sticks, a math problem or a Chem definition don’t  stick; a drummer sits down not even realizing that their hands are moving slightly as they keep the beat, what beat? The beat that sticks in their head because of the way a piece of music has influenced them.

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Not everyone is a painter, a writer, a doctor, or a mathematician, but everyone has music. You may not be the best dancer, instrumentalist, or vocalist, but in some way music moves you, it reminds you of something- an important time in your life, it reminds you of someone, or it just makes you smile, and sometimes even cry. No one realizes how important music is until the radio turns off.

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– Brit

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3 thoughts on “Teen Insider: Music Connects All

  1. Brit, thanks for a great blog post! You’ve really hit the nail on the head. Music is so important for everyone. I believe (as a non-expert in this subject) music accesses a different part of the brain, which may be why you can memorize songs without realizing it, why babies learn songs and nursery rhymes so easily, and why those with Alzheimers or Autism can connect through music when other ways of connecting just don’t work.
    With all this in mind, how CAN schools get rid of music programs? It seems crazy. It’s just as important to exercise this part of kids’ minds as it is to do math and science.
    –Jackie

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