Music and Education

“Sisurvetti pasurvetti, vetti gana rasam phanihi” says the sanskrit sloka. Yes… Music is enjoyed by children, animals and even snakes.

Recently we have seen how kolaveri song became a viral hit… crossing language barriers. Probably the tune now has the maximum number of parodies in almost all Indian languages. Yes… Music has no language and cultural barriers.

Different people may like different genres… but what is it, that makes music so unique and appealing to all?

Music is appealing because it is a language of the heart. Great compositions are born when the composers were in a highly relaxed and peaceful state. It is the stage when the right brain is at its peak. When the right brain is active and at its creative peak, the left brain just submits itself to the right brain and great compositions happen. The composers just BE…

Any great composition is governed by a systematic rhythm, rules and regulations. All songs belonging to a raga will follow a set pattern with respect to the Sruti, Swaras and Talas (beats). All this involve application of higher mathematics. There is also a lot of imagination involved for the elaboration of ragalapana to bring out the right bhava. So Music is a science in itself, which has a lot of right and left brain activity in a balanced way.

In a music school, I have seen small children who are amphidextrous. These children can not only use both hands for applying tala while singing, but also apply different talas with the right and left hands at the same time. This music experts claim, is not because they are child prodigies… it is because music is able to bring out the inherent capacity of the mental capabilities that is present in all. These children become prodigies by utilising the capacity of the brain to a greater extent than others. Limitations are to the left brain because of its logical thinking. Right brain has no limitation… they can make fish fly, creat a great friendship embedded within enmity between cat and rat (Tom & Jerry).

As a child the right brain is very active and we see children dream of many impossible things. In the process of education, we encourage more of left brain activity and slowly make the right brain dull or inactive, thus reducing the capacity utilisation of the brain. Music is one element, when properly learnt can help keep both the right and left brain active even in an adult.

Apart from this music has other benefits…

Different letters produce different sounds from different parts of the body… starting from the depth of the abdomen to the lips. Proper pronunciation and rendering of music will activate different organs and centres of the body. Thus different ragas will act on different parts of the body and activate corresponding moods and emotions. Compositions in bhoopala ragam, a morning raga are generally soothing and appealing to the calm mind like the warmth of a rising sun.

In addition, different ragas are rendered from different levels (abdomen, chest, throat, etc.,) in the body, is a sort of pranayama in itself. Vocalists particularly appreciate the fact that practicing pranayama systematically helps them perform better in rendering various ragas at ease.

Another advantage of learning music early is enhancing memory power. Have you observed how an expert drummer, a violinist, veena player, etc., move their arms and fingers across the instrument(s) with ease – not even having to look at the notes.

The creative element of an artists’ brain (right) just absorbs the skills… while our logic and reason seeking left brain is awestruck and at the same time wondering about the logic seeking out the reason behind the seemingly impossible feat…

As I have done in this blog we may keep reasoning (a left brain activity) out the logic and benefits of learning music at a young age  or simply accept the fact and expose our children to music at an early stage. Schools may take the initiative and make learning music in a systematic and structured manner, compulsory in their schools or alternately PTAs may take the lead in introducing it in their schools.

Let’s add RHYTHM to Our and Our Children’s Life…

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