Reprinted with permission from the Baltimore Sun
Last week, I attended the “Sing and String” concert at Roland Park Elementary/Middle School. The energy in the room was extraordinary. As a conductor and parent, I was immensely proud of our music programs. It is not coincidental that so many of the students advancing to the most rigorous academic programs are also linchpins of their school’s music programs. But dwelling excessively on this correlation severely limits the value of the arts and their potential place in our lives. Anecdotes about the link between the arts and intellectual achievement are legion. It is no secret that Einstein was an avid amateur violinist. Somewhat less well-known: When Werner Heisenberg had his epiphany for the Uncertainty Principle while at a conference, across the courtyard from his hotel room, a violinist was playing the Bach “Chaconne.” The arts, however, represent far more than mere steroids for academic achievement and socialization. Thought and learning require an outlet. Scientists have shown that a person deprived of dreaming, even with sufficient sleep-hours logged, will go insane. The arts provide a waking dream, if you will.