Every Wednesday, I’ll post about multiple intelligences so we can better understand children and why they do what they do.

We determine how strong people’s intelligences are by looking at both how much interest they have and how much ability they demonstrate. Both are essential for an intelligence to be strong.

Interest in music is high in our culture. Just look at the number of iPods in use, the number of people who have downloaded music to their phones, and the number of iTunes accounts accessed regularly. But, not all the people listening to music have music smart as a strength.

Are they interested in a variety of musical styles, are they open to discovering new styles and musicians, and do they remember music they’ve heard? And, does this growing interest translate to the choice to develop music ability?

Do they sing, play an instrument, and/or enjoy going to concerts? Do they pay attention to music playing in the background in restaurants and doctor’s offices? Do they remember commercial jingles and naturally use rhythms and melodies to learn things (e.g., Mississippi, the ABC song)?

People who are music smart think with rhythms and melodies and make music when they’re exited. You might hear these children hum, whistle, tap their toes, click their pens, or drum with their pencils as if their desk is a drum.

Those who use their music-smart strengths in unhealthy and negative ways may make noise almost constantly or when they shouldn’t, idolize music or musicians, listen to music to avoid interactions and conversations, and listen to “wrong” music.

People who want to use their music-smart strengths in healthy ways might use music to gain cultural understanding, calm down, worship often, and perform and bless others. They may become composers, music teachers, or music therapists.

Like with picture smart strengths, music can definitely enhance relationships. It gives friends something to talk about and gives people something to do together. As I’ve blogged about before, it can be a great connection for family members.

Another reason I recommend that parents involve their children in music is the character and discipline that comes with learning, practice, and performing. Music is one of the best ways for children to learn a proper perspective of perfection and the roll of practice and the joy that can come with both. The satisfaction that comes with developing excellence is a beautiful and life-changing thing.

Music is also an intelligence that easily lends itself to service. We can sing or play instruments for others. We can bless people in nursing homes, schools, and churches. We can learn to be other-centered as we use this intelligence wisely.

Do you know anyone who would benefit from developing their music-smart interests and abilities? Remember, it’s never too late to grow an intelligence yourself. I hope you’ll move forward and find success.

[If you want to know similar details for the first three smarts in this series of blogs, please see them here: word smart, logic smart, and picture smart.]