Music’s legendary charms don’t just soothe the savage breast; they also stimulate the language centres in the brain, which may not sound as romantic, but it’s perhaps more important in the long run. As Science Daily informs us:
Contrary to the prevailing theories that music and language are cognitively separate or that music is a byproduct of language, theorists at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) advocate that music underlies the ability to acquire language.
That makes perfect sense, music being the universal language after all. Music is also a first language for baby. Though all new mothers certainly talk and coo to their babies, most also spend a great deal of time singing to and for their newborns, or playing recorded music. The lullaby as a genre wouldn’t exist if music didn’t have a significant impact on the infant brain and consciousness.
"Spoken language is a special type of music," said Anthony Brandt, co-author of a theory paper published online this month in the journal Frontiers in Cognitive Auditory Neuroscience.
"Language is typically viewed as fundamental to human intelligence, and music is often treated as being dependent on or derived from language. But from a developmental perspective, we argue that music comes first and language arises from music."
I find this rather vindicating, since it’s always been my view that music is not, as some school systems seem to think, “icing” on the educational cake (and therefore expendable when it comes to budget cuts), but foundational to our intellectual (and, I would argue, emotional and spiritual) development.