Famous Scientist Says Music is Very Important

13th September 2010

Hello everybody! It’s been a while since I’ve written any news. It’s been summer, which means holidays and fun. I hope you’ve had a good time if you’ve been away.

I’ve been wondering for a few weeks what to write about for my first news entry after a while away. Should it be the great opera I went to in Birmingham in July (Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), the book I read on holiday about music and the brain (Daniel Levitin’s The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature)…

And then on Saturday I saw something very interesting in the newspaper. It was an interview with some famous scientists. One of these scientists was Sir David Attenborough. He is very well known for being a TV presenter of wildlife programmes. Perhaps you have seen some of them (such as Life on Earth, The Blue Planet or Planet Earth)? If not, you really should. These programmes are amazing!

Anyway what’s this got to do with music? Well that’s just the point! This seems to have nothing to do with music at all! Here is a very famous scientist who has spent his whole life studying animals, plants, fish, insects—in fact anything that lives!—all over the world. And lately Sir David Attenborough has also spent a lot of time telling people about climate change. He’s a very clever man, a very famous man, and a man who does lots of very important and serious things. He thinks and works very hard.

But do you know what he said in the newspaper interview on Saturday? He was asked this simple question: What distracts you? In other words, what takes your mind away from thinking about science? And do you know what he said? He said this:

I used to work to music, but I can’t now. Music is too important not to give it my full attention.
&#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160&#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160&#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160&#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160&#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160&#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160&#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160&#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160&#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160&#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160 &#160(Guardian Magazine, 11th September 2010, p. 35)

In other words, this famous scientist who does lots of important work thinks music is also very important too! In fact, he thinks it is so important that he must give it his full attention!!

I wonder why this is? Perhaps some of the things I’ve said on this site have the answer (such as the page Why is Music Important?)?

In any case, if you’ve learnt a lot about science from watching Sir David Attenborough on TV, and learnt to believe what he says, then perhaps you could believe something else he says too? Perhaps you could believe him when he says music is very important. And perhaps you could believe him when he says that music is so important that you must give it your full attention.

Why don’t you try that the next time you hear some music? Why don’t you give music your full attention next time you hear some? You never know what you’ll hear!

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