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October 1, 2022

 

What is the benefit of playing music?

Some music enthusiasts love the challenge of sitting down at the piano or picking up their violin to learn a song. That’s because they understand learning to play music brings a wide array of beneficial traits that extend beyond the music room! When a musician learns to read, play and perform music, they gain mental, cognitive and emotional health benefits that will last throughout their lifetime.

Einstein once said: “Life without playing music is inconceivable to me. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music… I get the most joy in life out of music”. And as it turns out, Einstein was onto something: many studies show a correlation between musical training and academic success, in both children and adults. Learning to play an instrument stimulates the brain, improving functions like memory and abstract reasoning skills, which are essential for maths and science.

Brain scans have been able to identify the difference in brain structure between musicians and non-musicians. Most notably, the corpus callosum, a massive bundle of nerve fibers connecting the two sides of the brain, is larger in musicians. Also, the areas involving movement, hearing, and visuospatial abilities appear to be larger in professional keyboard players.

Initially, these studies couldn’t determine if these differences were caused by musical training or if anatomical differences predispose some to become musicians. Ultimately, longitudinal studies showed that children who do 14 months of musical training displayed more powerful structural and functional brain changes.

These studies prove that learning a musical instrument increases gray matter volume in various brain regions, It also strengthens the long-range connections between them. Additional research shows that musical training can enhance verbal memory, spatial reasoning, and literacy skills.


America’s Pastime Rejection

With the MLB season underway, fans all over the country tune in every night to watch their favorite teams play. After all it is America’s pastime and everyone (well most people) love the sport. Being the Yankees fan I am at 12 years old, I come home from school everyday and put on YES network which airs the Yankee’s game. I am really excited for what the New York team can do this year with powerhouse rookies like Outfielder Aaron Judge and Catcher Gary Sanchez. Although I am a big Yankees fan, I also love the sport of baseball in general. I play all year round on a travel team and watch any game I find on the television. This year looks like it’s going to be a great one for me!

Most kids my age however; do not feel the same way about the greatest sport. Baseball is rapidly decreasing in popularity to young kids. A Washington Post’s article reads, “According to Nielsen ratings, 50 percent of baseball viewers are 55 or older, up from 41 percent 10 years ago. ESPN, which airs baseball, football and basketball games, says its data show the average age of baseball viewers rising well above that of other sports: 53 for baseball, 47 for the NFL (also rising fast) and 37 for the NBA, which has kept its audience age flat.” This data proves how young kids are not tuning into the great 9th inning rallies. Many whom are shocked believe this is the case for many reasons. One point said by Laura Hudgens of hiffingtonpost.com is that kids feel baseball is too slow for them. Hits come a few times a game, home runs sail over the fences usually about once and diving plays occur every few games. This is not appealing to kids that have evolved in this video game era. In addition, playing baseball has the same reasons. Kids have at-bats about 3 times a game and barely one ball has to be fielded by them. They simply cannot be patient and admire the slow pace. Adding on baseball has a lot of competitors out there. This meaning that there are so many more sports out there that kids can play. This includes basketball, soccer, swimming and football just to name a few. A survey did by scholastic shows that kid’s favorite sports were basketball and football, with baseball being 6th most popular.

All these numbers and stats make me feel kind of sad due to the fact that I love baseball. I feel like a solution would be for kids to learn about the game. Many seem unfamiliar with the rules and regulations and by knowing this one can understand what goes on in the game. Therefore, one can come to appreciate those walk-off homers and diving double plays. Furthermore, kids should also learn about the history about this pastime. Some much has happened in the last century and so of it might interest many kids. Despite these facts though, baseball will always be America’s pastime and and apart of my heart.

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