Music enhances bonds, brain power, life

Robertson Enlargephoto


“Without music, life would be a mistake,” said philosopher Friedrich Nietzche. As a soundtrack to a movie, music can add suspense or create an atmosphere of love. As a dinner show performance, music adds a little bit of entertainment to an evening. Depending on the key the piece is in, its dynamics and its tempo, music brings joy, love and happiness.

I have been playing the piano for 10 years. Now a junior in high school, I have participated in marching, jazz and concert band, as well as orchestra and solo performances. In addition to playing the piano, I also have learned the marimba, vibraphone and bells. During pep band recently, I even tried my hand at the bass drum.

Participating in Durango High School music programs has brought much joy to my life. Through my exploration of different types of music and performances, my love for music has blossomed.

I feel honored to be a part of so many ensembles, and I attribute this exploration of music to Instrumental Director Katherine Reed. Every time I try a new instrument or song, I feel immensely grateful to her as she has helped me expand my involvement in the instrumental world. My experiences playing for others have made me realize the importance of sharing music with people.

Music has long been a form of political and personal expression. Countries have united under a single anthem to stage revolutions, and teens tune into music by popular artists to express their views and feelings about relationships. As a medium, music allows for all different kinds of sentiments, furthering the impact it has on emotions.

Bonds between people develop through music. I am not just talking about romantic relationships, but the connections formed when a night is spent singing and dancing to the shuffle on your friend’s iPod. “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen started a wave of people dancing and singing on planes, trains and automobiles, and posting their videos on YouTube.

Through music, I have met many good friends. These quality people are some of the finest I have met in high school. They will hang out with you no matter how grumpy or crazy you may be on any given day. The atmosphere in the DHS instrumental room is one of openness, acceptance and camaraderie.

In addition to the affective elements, music also offers challenge and substance to the left side of the brain. Music bridges the gap between creative arts classes and traditional core classes by stimulating both sides of the brain at once.

Many people know about the studies of how music and math are closely related, and how one helps the other. Fractions for me have become so much easier because music is all about fractions; whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes and sixteenth notes are all perfect examples of the subdividing in any given measure of music.

Music is not only beneficial for mathematicians, but also helps general intelligence. It has been said that playing Beethoven, Strauss and Mozart to a baby in the womb may help increase their ability to learn, so it makes sense that continuing to listen to music would enhance your learning. I have found listening to music helps to ease the stress of my busy schedule and makes homework time more productive.

Technology has increased people’s ability to share and listen to many genres of music. iPods, social media and the availability of tunes to the general population has led to an increased appreciation. Shows such as the Grammy Awards feature a large variety of music, introducing people to many different artists and arrangements.

One way to ensure the sharing of music and its benefits is to promote music programs in primary through secondary educational settings. Instrumental, vocal and musical theater productions are not only enjoyable for an audience to attend, but also help to promote work ethic, dedication and cooperation for the students involved. The DHS instrumental-music program encourages students to learn these skills as well as provide entertainment for the community.

Music has made a positive impact on my life in many different ways. Music has helped me make friends, learn new skills and enjoy experiences beyond the traditional school classroom. As I continue to grow, attend college and get a job in the “real” world, I hope to continue in my love and enjoyment of bringing music as well as joy, love and happiness to others.

Hannah Robertson is the center spread editor at El Diablo, the Durango High School student newspaper. Her parents are Jim and Susie Robertson of Durango.