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Music Can Grow and Heal the Brain
Music is Mandatory for Life
My educational research experience agrees with the reports of major universities and the Kennedy Center for the Arts. Music is mandatory in society and nearly all societies use music.
These studies show that speaking grammatically correct language to an infant or young child, age infant through Kindergarten, along with providing exposure to music and the arts, create the necessary gray-matter and white-matter brain cell connections via active cell axon (signal transmitter) proliferation and growing synapses or signal "jump points" in the infant and childhood brain.
The same is true for the adult brain and even for injured child and adult brains.
Language, music, and arts all have mathematical components. These "Non-mathematical" disciplines set the stage for mathematical and logical learning and understanding.
Music in the Hearing and Non-Hearing
Hearing and mimicking language, hearing music, and exposure to arts also create additional synapses in the brain.
These synapses are "jump points" across which data signals from axons travel between two cells or among many cells in a network (Please see images below).
The more synapses that exist together with increasing numbers of transmitter axons, the greater the ability of the brain to learn and to apply information. IQ even rises in this phenomenon. Listening to music does this for most humans.
As with any trend, there are exceptions. However, even the deaf can benefit, proven by the fact that the world's number one percussionist, including on the very musical xylophone, is profoundly deaf since age 12: (Touch the Sound) of the UK. She feels the frequencies of musical notes. and listens with her whole body. Dame Evelyn Glennie
American Sign Language and sign languages of other nations access both language and motor (movement) processing; therefore, deafness does not eliminate language as important. Language is irrevocably linked with personality and culture in an individual. Music and arts make up culture, along with other elements.
Language, music, and arts all have mathematical components. They set the stage for mathematics learning and understanding, particularly.
In the late 1960s, The Ohio State University ensured that a tape of Baroque Music was packed with every math textbook for students, because that style of music increased mathematics learning when it was played while the student studied mathematics.
In middle school and high school enrichment programs at the Private Industry Council Learning and Opportunities Center in Central Ohio from 1995 through 2003, this type of music was shown to increase learning in all core subjects. Among two dozen summer learning program participants in 7-8th grade during the same years, reading level scores increased from 3rd and 4th grade to 6th to 8th grade scores through drawing pictures in the presence of music under the instruction of a certified art therapist. Music was also played.
The more they drew, the better the students were able to process spoken and written language. The better they could process language, the more they could write in a cohesive way. The more they could do this, the more they were able to relax and smile.
In Pre-K classes in our school systems, the agenda is to talk to the children, do art with them, play music and have them march and dance to it, and to exercise in other ways for 3 hours a day. These children enter Grade One having already learned ABCs, numbers from 1 - 100, and other skills without drills and memorization.
The Program for Music, Mind, and Society at Vanderbilt harnesses the teaching and research resources of the Vanderbilt School of Medicine, Peabody College, College of Arts and Science, School of Engineering and the Blair School of Music...including Psychology, Neuroscience, Medicine, Education and Music Performance.— Matt Batcheldor at Vanderbilt; September 3, 2015
Brain Development From Kindergarten Through Grade 12
If you sit a baby in a corner in a crib unattended or sit a young child in a chair or alone in an empty room most of the time until age 6, then they will most often turn out not very bright and too much toward sedentary living as adults.
Certain computer games, educational PC programs, and even music and action on TV can counter some of these affects and some of these children benefit. Others of these isolated children become aggressive and unable to develop social skills.
The importance of music, then, is the rationale for our nation's school systems to not eliminate music and the arts, as some systems have done in order to save money.
Music, the arts, and exercise create the necessary connections in the brain that are required to ready the human child to be able to learn, understand, and perform in STEM subjects and reading. Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin is an active advocate for this, still working in his late 80s.
We cannot skip the preparation of language, music and arts for the brain and go directly to memorization drills and hope for long-term success in academics.
We cannot skip the preparation of language, music and arts for the brain and go directly to memorization drills. It is not working. However, these have always been the items cut from school budgets with the excuse that they are "frivolous."
Hands-on learning through actually doing projects that combine several subjects together helps children and youth that have not been exposed to the simulation of early language, music, and arts. Most of these individuals are better able to learn this way that through memorization. How much better they could learn if they had had the stimulation of music, the arts, and language processing via listening, early on.
Music and participation in music are very important elements of human brain development. Human cultural development includes music, arts, and language. It must all be preserved and encouraged.
Music Therapy and the Brain
Music therapy is a successful adjunct to other rehabilitation modalities for former US Representative Gabby Giffords, following her 2011 politically-motivated gunshot wound to the head. She continues to heal via speech, music, occupational, and physical therapies and her service dog Nelson. In 2013, she received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
Gabby Gifford's Speech in 2016
Oliver Sacks - Music and Parkinson's Disease
Brain Music Therapy
- Exploring the Musical Brain: How humpback whales and humans write music using the same methods and how whales rhyme. cogweb.ucla.edu/ep/Music_Leutwyler_01.html Retrieved March 17, 2009.
- Inglish, P., MS. Linden Opportunities Center Case Records. 1995 - 2003.
- Kennedy Center for the Arts. Critical Evidence for Music. Critical Evidence: How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement. PDF booklet, 24 pages.
- Kennedy-Inspired National Arts and Disability Center. Mission: to promote the full inclusion of audiences and artists with disabilities into all facets of the arts community. All aspects of the arts, including careers and film festivals.
Stanford University Medical Center. (2007, August 5). Music Moves Brain To Pay Attention, Study Finds. Science Daily. Music is processed in many parts of the brain and can therefore make more parts of the brain usable, even after trauma. In this study, the "research team showed that music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions and updating the event in memory. Peak brain activity occurred during a short period of silence between musical movements - when seemingly nothing was happening." www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070801122226.htm Retrieved August 14, 2010.
- Research News at Vanderbilt. New Program Set to Explore Effects of Music on the Mind. September 3, 2015.
- The Institute for Music and Brain Science: Information regarding the neurobiological foundations of music. How to fight diseases that impair musical ability. Treating children and adults with neurological and other diseases via music.
- Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. Extensive site concerning human development, including music and its impact on health, healing, and learning - including music camps for learning disabled youth.
© 2008 Patty Inglish