Music and the Brain

 

It has been said that music is healthy for the brain, happiness for the soul and pleasure to the heart.

Many of us have experienced how music affects our soul and heart but how does music affect the brain?

Does classical music really help encourage infant development?

How does musical training affect the brain and does music really improve the quality of life?

Wanting to understand exactly how music affected me, I did some research.

Have a good read and explore the effect of music on the brain!

Does classical music really help encourage infant development? 

I’m sure many of you have seen albums such as “Baroque for Babies” which encourage classical music exposure to infants. In 1998, a study was conducted to determine if music truly affected the mind of a young child. The belief of the time was that listening to classical music in the crib would improve skills in math and engineering. What came of this experiment is known as the ‘Mozart Effect’.  Music also relaxes your baby. Studies show that babies exposed to classical music relax, move less and sleep more comfortably at night.

How does musical training affect the brain? 

As corny as it sounds, musicians have bigger, better brains! This isn’t something made up, science proves it. Looking at a CT scan of a brain, musicians tend to have bigger, more connected brains. If you hadn’t noticed, musicians tend to have exceptional memory, auditory skills, and cognitive ability. Not all of us a professional level musicians but if you listen to music half as much as I do in a week, music is influencing your brain too! 

Does music really improve the quality of life?

Well music has been proven to improve your mood and reduce stress! Don’t believe me? Find a quiet country road, go out on a sunny day, roll down your windows and turn on your favorite song. I guarantee you’ll start smiling and your body will physically and mentally relax. Listening to upbeat music can give you energy and positive attitude. Music increases our dopamine levels (dopamine is our “happy” hormone!) and that’s why listening to your favorite song makes you so happy!

Music is a key factor in my life – I believe that I am a more loving and compassionate person because I have music in my life. Above all else, music is a sensation, it has the power to raise feelings you didn’t know you had before. Music makes you happier, healthier and enhances everything of the human experience.

You can read more about music and the brain here.

written by piano pedagogy student Lindsey Johnson, Southwestern Adventist University.

Music and “reading readiness”

According to Dr. Dee Coulter, a renowned brain science educator, key pre-reading skills that researchers have identified as helpful for preparing children to read are the same as those supported in a good music class.

  • ability to hear and identify differences in pitch
  • ability to work with codes, such as linking musical tones with notes
  • familiarity with rhyming words (in poetry, lyrics, etc.)
  • ability to copy rhythms so they can hear the rhythmic structure of language
  • a rich vocabulary of regular and “rare” words; (a bigger vocabulary makes learning easier)
  • ability to focus attention on pictures and on the teacher’s voice, and to communicate well

In our Family Music for Babies and Toddlers class the children are involved in call and response songs and patterns, the earliest pre-reading activities in our program.  For those enrolled in Cycle of Seasons or Pre-piano reading readiness is continued with call and response activities, finger play games, nursery rhymes and body awareness songs.  All of these are activities that deepen the children’s connection between words and actions.

Enrolling in music lessons is not only for enrichment and enjoyment.  The benefits into other fields of learning are tremendous when the musical environment you have chosen is purposeful and allows your child the freedom to learn in a pleasant and non-threatening environment.

Call Dorla’s Piano Studio (817) 832-8578 today and schedule a free class so that you may experience the joy of music and learning!

adapted from Musikgarten Delivers! Partnering with Parents Set 2

Instrument Play

We play instruments each week in our Family Music classes, primarily because it’s fun!

This is the time for getting to know the feel, and the sound of simple rhythm instruments, experimenting with different ways to play them.  Although I will give  examples of how to play the instruments, I do not expect everyone to do exactly as I am doing the whole time.  Instead, I want to give the children an opportunity to get to know the instruments and to establish a repertoire of ways to play the instruments.  By giving them this opportunity now, they will be ready and able to play specific instrumental parts in the coming years as we work to build 2 and 3 part instrumental accompaniments to some of our favorite songs.

Music and Behavior


Parents usually enroll their children in music class because of the musical benefits.  But have you ever taken the time to think about the neuroscience of music? Music, delivered in a thoughtful, useful, creative way will help your child make small changes in their behavior.

In music class children can learn to relax and be calm. During the carefully planned 30 minutes of class there are opportunities for movement, instrument playing, singing, improvising and silence.  Transitioning from one activity to another not only creates excitement and anticipation but will teach your child a routine that will enable him to change to a calm and quiet activity.  Caregivers are always a hug away and make this quiet time a special one.

Dr. Lorna Heyge, founder of Musikgarten explains: “How many times do we say to a child “Just sit down and listen!” Yet, those are exactly the skills most hard to come by in our couch-potato, visually oriented, noisy world!  Children need to move so that they become well acquainted with their bodies in order to learn how to hold still!  Children need quiet, focused listening – someone pointing out the sound of that bird, or the wind, just for a few seconds – to be able to tune in to individual sounds.”

The ability to smoothly change from one activity to another, on cue, is an essential life skill.  It is also a skill needed for group musical participation and interpretation.  It is a skill that you can teach at home, but if you would rather join a group of like-minded parents and movement-filled children, a Musikgarten class is a perfect fit.

British Isles Celebration

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Every year the Pre-piano 2 class enjoys the study of music around the world.  Our first unit introduced them to the music of the British Isles and ended with a delightful celebration.

They each came dressed up as a king or queen and after singing dancing and playing the glockenspiel they enjoyed a tea party.

Please visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/dorlayjoseaparicio/sets/72157622644649819/to enjoy a few pictures taken by Kylee’s mom, Kim.

Next celebration? Amerindians!