Throughout history, it actually wasn’t a secret to the great minds. Many artists, intellectuals, writers, mathematicians, and scientists shared this one unique ability and it can be traced all the way back to antiquity. Most people view this once secret as more a recreational activity or pleasing way to pass the time. Though it certainly can be those things, it is actually much more.
What many of the great minds and geniuses throughout history shared was the ability to play a musical instrument and the ability to read music. Today, music is seen as either a hobby for amateurs or a career for professional musicians. It can also be these things, but the gray area of this topic is what I will discuss in this article and how it affects the development of intelligence. I will begin by introducing several geniuses throughout history that have lived productive lives and contributed greatly to society because of their mind. The people in this article are not known as musicians, but you will know them by the names and the legacy that their names render.
The Father of Science, Galileo, played a major role in the scientific revolution and supported the idea that the earth revolved around the sun. Considered forever to be a genius, music played a central role in Galileo’s development. Music lead him to many important discoveries in new physics that still hold true today.
One of the greatest minds of all time, and the original “Renaissance Man,” Leonardo Da Vinci was centuries ahead of his time with his futuristic inventions, and timeless with his epic paintings such as “The Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper.” Some of his inventions were never built until many years after his death. His imagination was just too far ahead of the technical capabilities of his time. Leonardo also had a talent for music during his early development years as an apprentice. He sang and played several musical instruments. It is considered that music was only second to painting in his artistic abilities.
Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, practiced the violin three hours a day. He was the founder of what later become known as Jeffersonian Democracy, a political philosophy. He was chosen as the author of The Declaration of Independence because he was known as a fine writer with an incredible command of the language. He was a proficient violinist and had an extensive catalog of sheet music. Jefferson called music “this favorite passion of my soul.”
Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist whose discovery of the theory of relativity sparked a revolution in physics and changed the world of science forever. Besides being a Nobel Prize winner in physics, Einstein was also an excellent violinist and pianist. Many of his theories were developed while striking chords at the piano and playing the melodies of Mozart. Einstein said that “Life without playing music is inconceivable for me. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music…I get most joy in life out of music.”
Throughout the ages, music has been at the center of consciousness for the great minds of the world. Music influenced their thinking and sparked their creativity. This phenomenon shook the world and made contributions to society. Many of the great minds have always known that there is a musical link between education, imagination, and discovery.
Am I saying that if you learn a musical instrument that you will become a genius? No. But it has already been proven on a smaller scale that learning music improves test scores, SAT scores, and IQ levels. Though music learning is not a guarantee to becoming a genius, we should all aspire to be like a Da Vinci or Einstein. If not us, at least ensure that your children have the opportunity to enhance their education and development with musical training.
The goal of learning music is not to become a genius, but to create opportunities. Music is conducive to developing many non-musical skills that will be necessary to combat life’s challenges when they present themselves. The more skill sets you possess, the more opportunities you can take advantage of. Opportunities lead to productivity and prosperity. In order to take advantage of an opportunity, you must be intellectually prepared to act on it. Therefore, music can be an underlying link that connects the development of intelligence and the opportunities found in a prosperous life.
I wrote this article because I believe that learning music must have a permanent place in education and development. The past proved it. The present is forgetting it. The future must take hold of it again.
We need smarter people in our society to produce and maintain an increasingly more complex economy. And whoever chooses not to aspire to be like a genius will have less opportunities to take part in the benefits of the new world economy. In the future, there will few opportunities for the unskilled.
So let’s learn from history. Let’s not forget how we got here. Let’s reclaim our legacy of excellence.