Music is all around us, within us, we just need to change our perspective and listen. Music is history, portrayed in the faces of classical musicians. Music is a guide, a notation where one can visually represent aurally perceived music. Music is science that we work on to know how sound waves move in different patterns.
Music is expression. By singing, we also learn to analyze our bodies better; as we sing, we breathe and understand the full potential of inhaling, only to exhale a harmonious melody.
Music is language, not one but several different languages that we experience and learn things from.
Music is culture; we explore music from different cultures all around the world.
Woodstock, too, portrays this importance through the pieces that are performed for recitals and concerts, expressing cultural diversity. As all aspects of music come together, the knowledge gained lightens the souls of those who understand the true beauty of music.
Music is important. It makes your brain work better. A Harvard study shows that listening to music affects the cognitive function in the brain in general and spatial-temporal reasoning in particular. The study found that music also has positive effects on health, ranging from memory and mood to cardiovascular function and athletic performance.
This study tested the aspects of neurobiology for music lovers. The researchers gave standard IQ test questions to three groups of college students, comparing those who spent 10 minutes listening to classical music with a group who listened to a relaxation tape and one that waited in silence. The two groups who listened to music got higher marks than the group that didn’t. However, classical music helps in enhancing mental performances and this group got the most points. This emphasizes the importance of school choirs or orchestras.
When I first joined Woodstock in Grade 9, it was said to be a place where dreams come true. Students did what they loved; art, music, science, or anything. It was more than just academics. It was a mix of everything which made me grow mentally and physically. It helped shape me and broaden my horizons. Most of all, the music program did these things for me. For me, music is life.
Ever since I started taking music, I have come to believe that music can bring wonders to one’s life, as it did to mine. I sing when I’m sad, or happy, or excited. Find me in the hallway and you’ll probably see me humming a tune. I get happiness from singing.
I clearly remember the rush of adrenaline when I was selected for the Woodstock Choir. It used to be huge, about 35 people, and when I got into it, I was the happiest person you would see. That was the first time I was a part of an actual choir.
Back at my old school, choir was never a big deal. I didn’t know how to sing from sheet music, I could not read the measures or time signature or anything at all. Once I got the hang of it, I loved it so much that I never wanted to stop learning.
Now, I can read a bit of music, good enough to know my notes. Woodstock gave this to me, and it is something that I’ll always have and love. Although Woodstock has given this to me, the choir department has weakened in recent years because students are losing interest in choir.
Here, people respect music but they are not passionate enough to make choir important. The Advanced Choir last year had 24 people (35 the year before) and Chamber Choir 17 people; this year, we are down to five girls in Advanced Choir, and we don’t even call it “choir” anymore. The plan is to name it Music Theory and Singing.
It is extremely devastating to see it has come to this.
Everyone’s schedules clash because of the IB shift and the new timetable, and people now have less time to pursue their interests as they have to concentrate on the fields that they wish to take in college.
Also, the music teachers keep changing, and people take time to get used to them. A combination of all these factors results in the low interest in choir.
We need to bring music back into our lives as it can make us happy too. Anika Paulson, a student musician, talks about the impact music has on her life in her TED Talk. She says, “When I look at music, I see the whole world around us.” She says music is inside every one of us. We create it and are created by it. It connects us to each other and everything we do is music. People listen to music as sometimes it brings them to reality and it can help them escape from it at the same time.
A poster in the Music Building quotes Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky: “People are taught to have too much respect for music, they should be taught to love it instead.” It seems that people don’t love it anymore.
In my time here, I have witnessed the deterioration of people’s love for music. Woodstock is not what it used to be. Things have changed in a way I don’t like. People don’t prioritize music anymore. They don’t think it is important. They don’t love it.
The Chamber Choir went to a choir festival on Sept. 22 to Wynberg Allen. It felt good to watch other choirs, each with more than 50 singers. It felt like music was at least loved somewhere. People presented their songs and seemed so happy.
It would be great to one day be able to host a similar event at Woodstock. It would be a step towards recreating our love for music.
The school could create a choir where people could meet during a study hall slot and practice and present music for recitals or concerts.
Now with the little hope I have, all I wish is that Woodstock students see the importance of music in their lives.
Edited by Swapnil Jhajharia