Writing about World Music

Section F, Fall 2016

Musical Inspiration

One of the questions I have always asked myself is why did I become interested in music? When I was four years old I told my dad I wanted to play the piano, so he signed me up for lessons and after taking lessons for a while my parents bought me a piano. I know that once I began playing the piano, I fell in love with music and wanted to keep learning new instruments. This led me to starting guitar when I was 8 years old and violin when I was 10. I have always wanted to play classical music, which may be the strangest part of my musical inclination. When I was 8 years old and learning to play the guitar, I didn’t want to play pop songs. I wanted to learn how to play classical guitar. The same applied to piano. While I have played modern composers, I have never had any desire to play pop music. I enjoy listening to classical music, as well as playing it. Before I went to boarding school, my dad would often take me to see different symphonies in North Carolina perform. I would have much rather attended a symphony than a concert with my friends. I can never be certain what made me want to play the piano at such a young age, but my mom has always joked that maybe it is because she played me classical music before I was born. Maybe this isn’t a joke though, because I have heard about studies done on the effect of what a baby in a womb is exposed to and their later preferences. I think that these studies will be nearly impossible to draw any conclusions from because of the endless debate of nature vs. nurture. While nurturing the baby with classical music may impact the child’s musical preference, biology will always play a factor. The child could become a musician because the child’s parents are musicians. There are countless factors that could lead to children’s interests in music, so I suppose I will never really know why I wanted to play the piano.

The following is an article I found on the Mozart Effect: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-babies-ex/

1 Comment

  1. I find it fascinating to think that babies can be influenced by different things that happen outside of the womb. This being said, I doubt the influence of music on making babies “smarter.” While a correlation has been drawn between listening to music in the womb and higher SAT scores, I am hesitant to believe this. Experiments have been conducted in order to study the effect of music on students’ performance on different tasks and it has been shown that only active listening displays a significant influence on performance. Additionally, correlational studies do not draw on experimental data, therefore, not every variable can be accounted for and those children whose parents had them listen to classical music in the womb might have had a better upbringing than other children. This being said, I do believe that influences such as playing a musical instrument do influence test scores as the article you linked suggested. I have written about how playing an instrument changes the connections in students’ brains, making them more adept at tasks involving problem solving and spatial reasoning. I don’t know whether it will ever be definitively proven whether listening to music in the womb influences later life or not but the subject intrigues me.

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