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Why Music?

Indeed, why take the time, effort and expense to study music?  What may seem to be an intangible expression of humanity actually can be supported in a variety of ways.  This page offers some explanation of why music and the study of music is so important.  Each entry will give you a taste of the case in point.  Click on the "Download" link to view the full document.  You will need Adobe Reader to view these documents.

~ WHY MUSIC?  from the Music Achievement Council (NAMM)


I. Music is a Science. It is exact, specific . . .

II. Music is Mathematical. It is rhythmically based . . .

III. Music is a Foreign Language.


To read more

Download the "Why Music? file

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~Why we are who we are -- and why we do what we do


Dr. Karl Paulnack is director of the music division at the Boston Conservatory and frequently performs on the piano.  On September 1, 2004, Dr. Paulnack gave a welcome address to the parents of incoming students at the Boston Conservatory.  His message points to the value of music in today's society and reminds us of why we study music.  The opening paragraph of his address is as follows:


One of my parents' deepest fears, I suspect, is that society would not properly value me as a musician, that I wouldn't be appreciated. I had very good grades in high school, I was good in science and math, and they imagined that as a doctor or a research chemist or an engineer, I might be more appreciated than I would be as a musician. I still remember my mother's remark when I announced my decision to apply to music school-she said, "you're wasting your SAT scores!" On some level, I think, my parents were not sure themselves what the value of music was, what its purpose was. And they loved music: they listened to classical music all the time. They just weren't really clear about its function. So let me talk about that a little bit, because we live in a society that puts music in the "arts and entertainment" section of the newspaper, and serious music, the kind your kids are about to engage in, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with entertainment, in fact it's the opposite of entertainment. Let me talk a little bit about music, and how it works.


One of the first cultures to articulate how music really works were the ancient Greeks. And this is going to fascinate you: the Greeks said that music and astronomy were two sides of the same coin. . .


To read more

Download Dr. Paulnack's welcome address

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~How Music Works


If you enjoyed reading Dr. Paulnack's welcome address you might also want to listen to him speak on the importance of music and how it works.  This recording was taped at the Arlington Street Church in Boston and is about 19 minutes long.  It is located at the church's website as a free podcast at


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~What Can Your School’s Band Program Offer Your Child?


The Gemeinhardt Company, a manufacturer of flutes and piccolos, recently completed several research projects in which parents of band students from across the country were asked to list the major benefits they felt their child had received by being in the band program in their school.  Fifty percent or more parents participating in the project listed the following responses: . . .


To read more

Download "Why Band?" file

Visit the official St. Mary's School website at