My life has always been musical in some way or another. I successfully completed my development in utero without benefit of the current trend of playing classical music to the unborn, but somehow there was some sort of cosmic influence that compelled me to bang on pots and pans and sing from an early age. Neither of my parents were musicians, so if my interests and talents came from them it was a recessive gene. Once when I told my father that I knew vocalists who were paid to be soloists to sing in churches, he joked that in his church they paid him not to sing in the congregation. I would call my musical journey an evolution, but I cannot remember a time that there was not a song somewhere in my headâ€¦ and people who know that about me can play the worst practical joke in the world by planting a song worm in my head in the morning that refuses to go away all day! My car radio was always programmed to be only a button-push from country and western or classical or any other genre in between. I called myself a musical schizophrenic until my daughter, who was pursuing a double major in Music and Education at the time, rescued me by telling me that I could replace that almost politically incorrect phrase by claiming to have an â€œeclectic tasteâ€ in music.
The first time that I stumbled into a recruiting situation that involved the discussion of music was early in my career during in an interview with a Julliard trained pianist who had applied for an applications programmer position. In following his career path from a Master of Music degree through an additional BS degree in Computer Science, I learned something new that should have been intuitive because of the way my brain was wired: Musicians are damn smart people! We tend to think broadly of artists as right-brained people and technicians as left-brained. Music appears to be a whole-brain activity and research seems to substantiate this as fact. I have learned to look at interviewing differently by considering the depth of thinking of answers as well as the answer itself. My computer-programming pianist candidate commented that if Bach were alive today he would make a fantastic programmer as evidenced by the logical rhythmic patterns in his work that tied into his creativity to create a masterpiece.
Human resources professionals need to understand some of the basic reasons that people react as they do. Interpersonal relationships consume the majority of our time, but understanding the internal mechanisms that get peopleâ€™s juices flowing is important too. Researchers at McGill University in Montreal published a study that concluded to your brain music is as enjoyable as sex. Measuring chemical reactions in the brain resulting from various stimuli, they found that study participantsâ€™ brains pumped out more dopamine in a region of the brain responsible for emotion when anticipation of a particularly thrilling passage of music was played. They used fMRI technology to depict areas of the brain firing up with color in response to music. Food, drugs, sex and music all have a chemical impact on the brain functions. At work, we should probably stick to music and food to stir up an audience.
Music has been used in medicine for thousands of years. Singing and chanting were believed to have healing powers, and most recent research shows that music is a powerful therapeutic technology to treat mental illness and to alleviate pain. Music Therapy is available as a study major in over 70 colleges and universities in the U.S. The use of Kindermusik to teach children from newborn to preschool takes advantage of research that shows music to be a stimulus to early literacy and improved social-emotional development. Music therapy also extends to adults with serious illness according to the American Cancer Society. This practice, called music thanatology, is used at the end of a patientâ€™s life to ease the personâ€™s passing. It is practiced in homes, hospices, or nursing homes.
To some, the value of music and music choices has been intellectualized into a secondary role in education. For some reason, emphasis on science and math has been promoted to the detriment of the arts. A true scientist should recognize the value of music to overall learning and that it is an inherent part of our existence. Using the cousin of music in other left-brain thinking, we can look once again at the title of this article from the perspective of solving a mathematical equation:
Music Resources Is Human Resources
Music Resources = Human Resources
Music Resources = Human Resources
Music = Human
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