Music-making and the brain October 17th, 2016

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I’ve become fascinated by the new research that shows that music-making stimulates the brain more than any other activity, mental or physical.

Take a look at this lovely little animation created by Dr. Anita Collins, an Australian music educator. Collins also has a wonderful TED-X Talk, which you can view here, that goes into fascinating detail on how our brains — especially young children’s brains — benefit from music.

FMRI studies show the brain’s music-learning centres lighting up when newborn babies hear their mothers’ voices. They are actually hearing music. (Is this why some adults naturally adopt a sing-songy voice when speaking to infants? Quite possibly.) What does this mean? It means that musicality may be innate — i.e. we are all born musical!

Further research has shown that children and adults who study music in a structured way for at least two years have higher IQ’s than those who don’t. Studying music makes you smarter.

Governments and school boards should take note. As Dr. Collins so effectively points out, music education confers lifelong benefits, to individuals and to society as a whole. It should be fostered and protected. Unfortunately, it has been cut from far too many educational systems as an expensive and unnecessary frill. What can we do to change this?

 

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