Traditionally music was considered an art and being good at it was considered talent. Though, it was never given any importance in evaluating or assessing intelligence, music has been used from ancient times as an effective tool of learning. Most of the scriptures or shlokas in Sanskrit are read aloud in a certain rhythm. Seminaries, whether Buddhist or Islamist, use rhythms and tones as an effective tool of memorisation, especially of the text which is not very easy to remember or is in a language which is not a familiar one. Prayers, rhymes, songs etc learnt at a young age easily stay with us throughout our lives, often recalled by their rhythms and notes. It is an acknowledged fact that we can easily memorise popular Bollywood songs or advertisement jingles without making an effort largely due to the musical element. Many a times students are seen to be converting a difficult formula into a jingle of sorts so as to memorise it easily.
Gardener postulated the idea of rhythmic intelligence which is primarily based on showing sensitivity to rhythm and sound. This intelligence involves understanding and expressing oneself through music and rhythmic movements, composing, playing or conducting music. It is the ability to discern pitch, rhythm, timber and tone. This intelligence enables us to recognise, create, reproduce and reflect on music as proven by composers, conductors, musicians, singers and music aficionados. Humming, singing to oneself, whistling, tapping, drumming etc. are some signs of being music smart.
Musically smart people are not only good at recognition of tonal patterns but are sensitive to the environmental sounds too, the sounds which others often may miss altogether.
In fact, many studies have established that there an affective connection between music and emotions and mathematical and musical intelligences may share common thinking processes. Positive influences between playing a musical instrument and general cognitive abilities and been observed.
A number of scholars have established the link between musical training and language ability, especially the second language acquisition in not only normal but amongst dyslexic students too. All children who stammer, can surprisingly sing fluently! Such is the magic of a musical octave..!! Thus, it is safe to say that musical experiences integrate the skills of language acquisition, listening, memory and motor skills, resulting in developing multiple brain neural connections which are helpful in better performance in non-musical areas too.
As music and dance go hand in hand, dancers have a well-developed musical intelligence often helping them in other spheres of life too. As a Bharatnatyam dancer one has to learn at least the basics of Carnatic music, to be able to learn, comprehend, appreciate and master the rhythms and tones of the accompanying music. Even the basic Tatta Adavus, the building blocks of Bharatnatyam dance, the elementary steps also have a rhythm of their own. With time and practice dancers begin to be aware of nuances of not only the sounds of the vocals and instruments but the beats of silence too.
So, regardless of whether you can sing well or not, you must try and enjoy any kind of your own favorite music as it will develop and nurture your emotional, creative and intellectual well being.