In Training With a Beat: The Teaching Power of Music, Lenn Millbower makes a strong case for the connection between music, emotional intelligence, and success. The following is either adapted or directly quoted from his book.
It has been found that the left hemisphere of the brain is predominantly logical and analytical, processing ideas sequentially in a linear fashion. The right hemisphere is more emotional and intuitive, processing ideas holistically, in concepts and metaphors. According to Jane Healy, in Endangered Minds: Why Children Don’t Think and What We Can Do About It: “The trick in a well-functioning brain is to mix and match the abilities of the two hemispheres so that the most adaptive processing style is brought to bear on any learning situation.”
Music appeals to both hemispheres. The left hemisphere processes rhythm and lyrics, while the right hemisphere listens for melodies and harmonic relationships across time. Studies have shown that children who study music become effective adult learners.
Lenn Millbower extends this thinking to adult learners. He believes that Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ, establishes the importance of music in everyday life and suggests that music is relevant to success. “Goleman believes…that being in touch with your own emotions, and those of others, leads to success; and that the more successful a person becomes, the less expertise matters, and the more emotional skills become critical… Music is a window to those emotions.”
“John Blacking, in his Commonsense View of All Music, opined, ÔThe development of the senses and the education of the emotions through the arts are not merely desirable options. They are essential both for balanced action and the effective use of the intellect.’ ÔLearning which involves the whole person of the learner, feelings as well as intellect,’ believes Carl Rogers, Ôis the most lasting and pervasive.'”
That is why music is such a powerful training tool!