Central to society, music plays a crucial role in self-expression, education, history, and culture. From listening to the music in concerts, playing songs on the piano, and singing in the choir, we have various means of engaging in the art of music and sharing our story, language, and emotions with others. While many individuals have developed a fondness for musical styles and forms of expression, one’s musical abilities can be influenced by genetics.
A study by Yi Ting Tan et al. indicates that musical abilities could be influenced by genetics. Particular parameters for measuring musical heritability included absolute pitch, singing, music perception, music memory, and choir perception.1 Absolute pitch is defined as an individual’s ability to form pitches without any resources and is also shown to be influenced by genetics.1 And with this, music perception is can also be heritable, seen as an individual’s ability to perceive tones, beats, and rhythms.1 Music memory is an individual’s ability to recall certain musical tunes and could be passed down from genetics.1 Fascinatingly, this study indicated that there are specific gene locations that correlate to absolute pitch, music perception, singing, music memory, and choir perception. As there is a potential genetic influence on music abilities, it may not be the only cause.
Environmental factors could also be a potential indicator of musical abilities. Specifically, individuals who engage with music as a child, are more likely to have a stronger ability to engage with music in the future. From music classes at school to listening to songs in the car, our exposure to melodies and pitches at a young age may mold our musical abilities. If a child grew up learning to play the piano, then they are more likely to have a stronger music perception due to their exposure to varying musical tones as a child. While school children come from varying backgrounds and socio-economic statuses, it is vital for schools to provide children with the outlet to learn music. Significantly, this outlet may provide them with the crucial tools that they need to develop a stronger music perception, which could aid them in the future.
 Tan, Yi Ting, et al. “The Genetic Basis of Music Ability.” Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers Media S.A., 27 June 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4073543/.
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