My Many Colored Days

Richard Einhorn and the Minnesota Orchestra

"People who have no musical training tend to remember melodies by processing in the right hemisphere," Einhorn explains, "while people who have undergone musical training of any sort tend to process and remember melodies in the left hemisphere. The emphasis simply reflects the education."

This is not to say, however, that projects like the "Notes Alive!" concerts are superfluous, nor that support for arts education ever goes to waste.

"Anything that gets people to listen to music in a proactive way," Einhorn says, "that gets them to listen to music that is deep and rich and profound, should be encouraged."

But the value of music is not to be tabulated on some Dickensian ledger, nor is it merely an adjunct to more "important" study in math and science. None of the recent brain research has anything to do, Einhorn says, with the value he places on his own daughter's musical education. Rather, this has to do with "things that are less quantifiable and less bureaucratic.

"The important part of being a civilized human being, and living in a culture, is to be exposed to and understand some of the best parts of that culture," Einhorn believes. "And Western classical music is one of the greatest achievements of Western civilization--as great an achievement as our scientific and technical achievements are. The reason we should be exposed to it is not because it makes us better middle-level managers, but because it makes us better human beings. And that's not something that shows up easily on a standardized test."  

Scott Robinson's music reviews appear monthly in Minnesota Parent.

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