The science department of Harvard University seems to think so. Their study, titled Universality and Diversity in Human Song, explains that ethnographic text and audio recordings map out universals in world music.


Without a doubt, there is a worldwide love of music encompassing a wide variety of differing tastes, whether you’re a fan of the chart-topping pop hits of Taylor Swift or a diehard death metal listener. Clearly, music can be seen as a means of expression, communication and entertainment, bringing together individual groups of people and even whole societies.


Notably, some of these factors seem reminiscent of languages. Indeed, both music and languages use sound to affect our emotions, bring us together and they can even be read and be written. All of these attributes act as the binding glue of our country, allowing us to share feelings, raise our voices and form and develop relationships with those closest to us.


Given the overwhelming societal benefits of learning music, why is it that as of 2022 there has been a net 14-year decline in A-level music entries in the UK? Perhaps it is the result of an unnecessary focus on perfecting a specific musical instrument, after all, music doesn’t have to be understood to be effective. Thinking back to when you learned your first language as a baby, (an impossible task, but useful for this thought experiment) nobody was demanding you to speak the language perfectly. Babies are allowed to make mistakes while learning their first language, in fact, it is these mistakes which are often lauded, being seen as endearing and adorable.


If approached the same way to babies learning a language, music could be learnt faster as there would be greater focus on enjoyment as opposed to perfection. In a linguistic context, perhaps music teachers are only telling their students what they are supposed to say rather than asking them what they want to say. 


As I currently struggle to learn guitar, I am reminded that by embracing my mistakes (and trust me, there are a lot), the same way I would in my French A-level, I will ultimately progress further. To anyone who is debating whether to pick up a musical instrument for the first time I would say to go for it – you may sound really, really awful at first, but the end result is a lifelong skill, a shared passion and maybe even a universal language!