by Superintendent Luke Francois
Recently I read a book that offered five elements of well-being that constitute a life that matters. These five elements are:
- How you occupy your time or simply liking what you do every day: or Career Well-being.
- Having strong relationships and love in your life: or Social Well-being.
- Effectively managing your economic life: or Financial Well-being.
- Having good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis: or Physical Well-being.
- A sense of engagement you have with the area where you live: or Community Well-being.
(Gallup, I. (2010). The Five Essential Elements of Well-being. Gallup.com)
The five elements represent five broad categories that are essential to most people’s well-being. Today I offer the sixth part of well-being: art and music.
Research conducted specifically in music as it relates to well-being is well documented. The University of Sheffield in the UK is conducting studies that look at ways music contributes to everyday life as well as for people with extraordinary challenges in their life. Research questions currently posed include:
- Is music good for my memory?
- Can music help me sleep?
- In what ways can music support care for individuals living with dementia?
- How can practice environments be optimized for musicians?
- How can we support musicians living with depression?
- In what ways does musical practice support the development of young children from deprived communities?
(Music and Wellbeing. (2015). Retrieved 31 October 2016, from http://musicwellbeing.group.shef.ac.uk/)
Additionally, other areas of study include music interventions to treat dementia care, sleeping disorders for insomnia, and how music impacts MRI scanning of cancer and cardiac patients. As an example, roughly 6% of all people have insomnia, according to the National Institutes of Health. To combat insomnia, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index reports 59% of a population sampled indicated that they use music regularly to help them sleep. This breakthrough development of a non-drug based treatment is brilliant to address insomnia through music constitutes a low-cost portable and adaptable remedy to insomnia.
The University of Lincoln recently is furthering insomnia research by, “carrying out a large-scale Internet survey on music and sleep, to determine how people are currently using music when they encounter sleep difficulties in their day-to-day life. Using the results of this survey we will then carry out an informed, long-term ‘music for sleep’ intervention study in people’s own homes using new sleep monitoring technologies.”
To enhance the research results of music and insomnia you can partake in the research study by spending 15 minutes and answering a few questions at https://musicpsych.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_3XnfqJelYvMeVWl
Additional research surrounding well-being and music is helping every day challenges such as using our memory more efficiently and how to best address pressures of young musicians preparing for future careers. If reading research is not of interest, many TED talks speak to topics of music and memory to include: the Music of Memory by Victoria Williamson, Music on the Brain by Professor Jessica, or Professor Ani Patel talking about Music and the Mind.
Knowledge about research surrounding music and the mind makes for a natural link for art and music inclusion into the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as part of a well-rounded education (previously known as “Core Academic Subjects”). Recognizing music and the arts is unprecedented and helps to advance the cause of music in the school curriculum. Specifically, schools can use Title I funds to grant better access to music and the arts. Administrators can make a stronger argument for the importance of protecting students’ class time to include art and music. Government can open up new federal grant opportunities for purposes of deploying art and music to the underrepresented, disadvantaged, or minority students.
Mineral Point continues to deliver a well-balanced music and art education to create additional well-being in our students and adults.