When I was young, I always wanted to play the guitar. I had an aunt who was part of a musical group and she was their guitar player. She inspired me because for me, the music she created was beautiful. However, I was a bit afraid to ask her to teach me because I was afraid that I might not become a good player since I was never a musical person. So I bought my own guitar and bought books to teach me, but I found it very difficult. I eventually asked my aunt to teach me how to play and I learned. Playing the guitar while singing is now one of my favourite past times, even if it takes a while for me to learn a new song.
This story shows that even is a person is good at one aspect of intelligence, he might still be good in another if given appropriate stimulation. Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences tells us that some people excel in one type of intelligence but may be average in another. However, he believes that it is possible for people and schools to nurture and develop the “intelligences” where we are weaker in. In my case, I was never known to be a musically gifted person but with guidance and effort, I learned how to play. I was able to develop what Gardner calls musical intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, and linguistic intelligence.
Music has the power to bring peace to an angry mind and is a way of expressing our innermost dreams. Last Christmas season, I was feeling very lonely so I decided to take a walk. Everyone was rushing to and fro, busy with buying toys and other gifts. It seemed to me like I was the only one to feel sad, as if I did not share the spirit of the season. I tried buying a gift for myself but that did not work. I then happened to pass by a church and the people inside were practicing. I entered and asked them if I could accompany them if they had a guitar. So I played while they sang. Their voices were so beautiful. It made me feel happy and it made me feel part of the season. I was so inspired by their singing that I did my best to play they guitar beautifully as well. There are people who are gifted with musical intelligence. These people are good at singing, can play musical instruments well, or can compose songs. I was not born musically gifted. I had to learn how to play the guitar by practicing everyday. When I could play the guitar, I had to practice singing while playing the guitar. I started with one song first and when I got that song right, I learned other songs. So the practice that I need to do everyday helps develop my musical intelligence even better.
I have always been amazed by figure skaters, because to me, they personify the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. This intelligence is concerned with moving and doing. People with this type of intelligence learn more when they perform actions. A lot of athletes and dancers have this type of intelligence. Part of the everyday practice I do for the guitar involves remembering how to position my fingers on the guitar. There are certain finger positions which will create a certain musical note. I have to remember which position will produce which sound while making the left hand assume the correct position. While this is happening, the right hand is the one that has to hit the strings. One can do this by strumming or plucking. Different songs use different methods because different methods will create a different sound as well. I have to remember exactly how to hit the string for a particular song. This part I found a bit easy to do because I have always been good with remembering how to move my body. I never had any difficulty doing physical activities before. It took me less than a week to learn how to ride a bicycle. It was also easy for me to learn how to play pool. The bodily-kinesthetic intelligence has always been strong in me and learning how to play the guitar has helped me develop it even further.
I love the song “Imagine” by John Lennon, especially the line: “No hell below us, above us only sky…” People like him, poets and songwriters, definitely have linguistic intelligence. This intelligence is concerned with words and is developed in those who can memorize, read, and write a lot. Again, I did not have any difficulty memorizing lines, speeches, or poems before. This helped me in memorizing the lyrics of the songs I play on the guitar. But memorizing a song involves not also memorizing the words but also memorizing the tones of the words. This actually helped me develop my musical intelligence because it is easier to remember the notes you have to produce on the guitar when you know the notes of the words. Like what Howard Gardner believed in, it is possible for people to further develop an existing intelligence. It is also possible for us to nurture new intelligences which were not so dominant before. In my case, I was able to use my linguistic and bodily-kinesthetic intelligence to help develop my musical intelligence.
Gardner proposes that there are different types of intelligences and that these are not all measured by the IQ tests. He also says that we are all different from in each other since some people are strong in certain intelligences while others are not. These different intelligences are bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, linguistic, logical-mathematical, naturalistic, intrapersonal, spatial, and musical. Of these 8 different intelligences, what I would really like to develop is the logical-mathematical intelligence. I am not really good at math and it seems to me like a very practical thing to develop. This intelligence is not just concerned with math but is also concerned with logic. Logical thinking is needed to solve those games and by developing this intelligence, I can solve more advanced puzzles. After reading about multiple intelligences, I came to believe that everyone can be a better person through practice and proper guidance.