The other day a friend called. He faced a challenge and wanted my opinion. School was all set to reopen and his son had to choose between basketball and music. The young man was interested in both. But my friend and his wife were clear that it had to be just one of the two, given the demands on time. “My son is undecided and your opinion will help us decide.” His cheekiness glittered as he said, “Now let’s get some music to your ears”. And then, with a coarse imitation of my voice said, ‘what does research say’?
I got the hint. I had to look up research. Not land up with a bagful of opinions.
As I sat down to think about it, basketball won hands down! Now, sport is first love. The magical happiness that gets the body to quiver voluntarily when Roger Federer wields the racquet or Michael Jordan dunks the ball is, unparalleled. Goose bumps stuff. That gets even more power and meaning, when I read of the player’s contexts and the struggles for them to get to the arena. And, personally, I can’t survive for long bereft of physical activity – be it a slow jog or a long walk!
But music. That provides for something else. It keeps me company through thick and thin. And helps me wade through mind swamps, enhances pleasure and relieves pain. That is quite something too.
I remembered my bias towards sports and dove into research.
Awash In Research
And so I have been awash in research about music over ten days. I must report that I have something to show that will be music to your ears!
Intuitively I knew the many benefits of music. It binds us together. Lifts me out of bad mood and helps me connect to a past or dream of a different reality when the present sucks. By the way, it is perpetually on, when I work. And keeps me constant company on my long walks.
But the many benefits of music that my behavioural science research lead me to, gave me goose bumps.
Kids who play music have seen its impact in many ways. For one, their gray cells are different. There is a better sense of agency in them. Their manual dexterity, motor skills are better. Children who take music lessons outperform their musically untrained counterparts in tests of verbal memory and reading ability!
In another research, children who were academically behind other students caught up with other students who were ahead. With some music training of course!
I called up my friend and told him that I had a bias for sport but my answer seems to be veering towards music! Particularly so, after reading all the research! “I am sure, It is music to your ears”, I told him, for I thought he was more inclined to music than me. He himself had played the guitar in the high school band.
When I heard a muffled yes, I realised he was torn between the two, whilst leaning towards basketball! I then gave him a final piece of research.
Who Is More Attractive?
Researchers in Paris recruited an attractive 20 year old man to stand on a pedestrian walkway and introduce himself to 300 women who passed by.
All he had to say was this, “Hello. My name’s Antoine. I just want to say that I think you’re really pretty. I have to go to work this afternoon, and I was wondering if you would give me your phone number. I’ll phone you later and we can have a drink together someplace.”
As he went about doing this, sometimes, he carried a sports bag. And at other times he carried a guitar case. The researchers were interested in knowing if there was a difference in the success rates.
Ok. Question for you. What do you reckon was his success rate with getting the phone number either additions on him?
Here’s what they found. 31% success rate whilst carrying a guitar case. And 9% with a sports bag! Clearly, there is something that a guitar case does to a young man.
The last I heard my friend has had a serious chat with this ageing father on why he stopped him from learning the guitar.
The OWL Despatch
This is edition 91 of The OWL Despatch. Typically, I put one out every fortnight on interesting reads I picked up. Here are five pieces for you to chew on. I hope these will be music to your ears!
Bob Iger’s Long Goodbye. The CEO transition at Disney is quite a story!
Did you know that the Oct 13th was the International Day of Failure? And hey, did you know of a museum of failures? Quite an array of failures here.
Speaking of museums…what if museums came up for mermaids. And that too, two of them!
At one point, he was more recognisable than Jesus Christ. What happened then?
Thats that from my side for now. Do me a favour. Please take a minute and let me know how this worked for you. I treasure all views and feedback