Music Appreciation Explained


Freshman April Pixley, with her earbuds in, listens to a musical playlist.

The new music appreciation class isn’t what people thought it would be.

When people see the word “appreciation,” they usually misunderstand its true meaning. Yes, appreciation is the act of feeling enjoyment and gratefulness towards something, but that also includes acquiring a full understanding of the material.  

“Music appreciation is about studying the inside world of music. How to make it, how to think about it, how to analyze it, how to hear it, and how it has progressed throughout history,” said music appreciation teacher Vanessa Lyttle. 

Students are exposed to musical elements and the overall development of music as a medium. They are also gaining knowledge of origins, styles, and different historical trends. Educating oneself in this genre can spark and help with various skills including motor skills, problem-solving skills and self-discipline.

Junior Quentin Edmonds said, “I think I got a little more out of it than I expected and I’ve gotten a lot of musical context from it. I pursue music mostly because it’s the only thing I can imagine putting myself in crippling student debt for and I think music is culturally relevant.”

Music is a universal creation and it surrounds all human life, whether people are aware of it or not. It’s heard in grocery stores, parties, school, and in almost every public place. The education system frequently uses songs to help students with memorization. Parents use music to soothe the restless minds of their children.

Understanding the history and technicalities of music could benefit one’s creative mind and help to contribute to this immense part of people’s lives. 

Some people describe music as moving, an escape, or a way to put themselves in a more positive altered state. When people listen to music, the brain releases the chemical dopamine, also known as “the pleasure chemical.”

According to the University of Central Florida, music can boost peoples’ immune systems, make them better communicators, and reduce seizures. Stated by the American Psychological Association, psychologist Daniel J. Levitin explained that musical assistance can play a key health role in operating rooms and family clinics.

But usually, people don’t listen to music because of the health benefits.

“Music has had such a hand in the development [of] history and has had a hand in influencing people and their emotions at any given time, in events, in functions, in any aspect of life. I think it’s important and is something that every single person has in common. It doesn’t matter what culture you’re from, everybody has music and uses it for a certain purpose,” said music teacher Vanessa Lyttle. 

This expressive ability not only has an influence on every person’s culture but breaks communication barriers. It is even somewhat perceivable by animals like whales and dogs. It can determine the way one dresses and what they value. Music allows people to tell stories no matter the language and can bring those people together.

“Music should be appreciated because it is a medium we have where every emotion, thought, idea, etc. can be expressed,” said Edmonds.