Dr. Peter Farrett explains the connection between music and computer science
Can you be an even better software engineer if you understand music? That was the question on hand at the latest information technology program seminar series. With music by iconic Italian composer Giacomo Puccini playing as students filed into the Campus Center Ballroom, Dr. Peter Farrett, chairperson of the Information Technology and Computer Science Department at Middlesex County College discussed why understanding music can be helpful in areas where abstract thought is essential.Farrett, a self-proclaimed nerd and devout music lover believes if you understand music, it will help you focus better. “Some of the best, brightest software engineers have been involved in music,” he said. So, how does one increase better mental ability and abstract thinking by way of music? “Research suggests musical activity that involves the left and right hemispheres relate to a process of shared interaction with specific mental areas of the left vs. right brains and can stimulate each,” explained Farrett. “Music can ‘fire up’ both hemispheres and many believe it can mutually benefit the ‘traditional’ areas since you are training both to work with each other even though music was always thought to be a right brain-function [or] activity.”
While music will always be a personalized experience for the listener, rooted in generational and cultural differences, Farrett, who also touched on key structure and the architecture of music, urged the students to listen to whatever they want, but he also recommended that they lean more toward symbolic tunes and music with a formal structure, like jazz, which is better suited for abstract thinking and will help when it comes to computer science and any programing that has numerical or mathematical structure.