A Mind for Music

By Leeanne Seaver

If you want your child to graduate high school with a skillset that will serve him well the rest of his life, get him into the band. Coordinator of Music at Kalamazoo Valley Community College Chris Garrett, who directed the Vicksburg band from 1992-98, describes research that shows the positive effects of learning music.

Brain scans indicate unusually high levels of activity across all parts of the brain when a child plays a musical instrument. According to researchers, this means multiple areas of the brain are being accessed at the same time.

Creativity involves making connections across multiple areas that are not usually linked. The brain development resulting from those creative connections helps with multiple intelligences—especially social and psychological skills.

Creative adaptability is a wonderful skill to leave school with, but for many alums, being a part of the band gave them so much more. Suzanne Gillespie Goff, VHS Class of ’75, says “I owe so much to Mr. Shaw and my years in the band. The emphasis on doing your best and giving 100% is something I’ve carried throughout the rest of my life.” John Martens, VHS Class of ’58, recalls “playing in the band was the most positive experience of my high school years.”

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