My interests in teaching music, my hopes and intentions for my students involve more than playing and performing with excellence. I encourage my students to understand what excellence is, why it is useful, helpful, healthy and enjoyable to us, and how to achieve the pleasure of excellent, musical and sound results again and again throughout a lifetime.
Maintaining musical practice is not something everyone of us able to do in the context of current attitudes about making music. Most learn to play an instrument when young and report their enjoyment later on in life as a memory, rather than as a continuation of the good and healthy reasons for making and practicing music.
Music is often regarded as a passing phase, part of an education and perhaps for some, as a lifetime recreation. These are all wonderful aspects of the goals of music education, however, I also see learning music as much more than such limiting ideals and practices.
Research tells us making music has been a part of human experience for at least 140,000 years and probably much longer than this. It is part of our DNA. We have areas in our brains dedicated specifically to making music. There is an area in the auditory cortex in each of us dedicated to music. Other area of the brain are of a similar nature. It is that important to us.
To process music we use more areas of the brain than we do processing any other activity, so far as we know. It is comprehensive. When we develop from ages 2 to 9, perhaps a little later for boys, our brain hardwires itself for recognizing and understanding sounds. Among other things we learn about location, spacial reasoning, movement, social involvement, our emotions, communication as part of our experiences with sound. To understand how this all works within us is to comprehend complexities of living. There is a reason we refer to a healthy person as one with a sound mind.