Developing "neural circuits" or pathways of synaptic response which causes and retains learning |
"Last October researchers at the University of Konstanz in Germany reported that exposure to music rewires neural circuits. In the brains of nine string players examined with magnetic resonance imaging, the amount of somatosensory cortex dedicated to the thumb and fifth finger of the left hand - the fingering digits -was significantly larger than in non players. How long the players practiced each day did not affect the cortical map. But the age at which they had been introduced to their muse did. "The younger the child when (he or) she took up the instrument, the more cortex (he or she) devoted to playing it. Like other circuits formed early in life, the ones for music endure. Wayne State's Chugani played the guitar as a child, then gave it up. A few years ago he started taking piano lessons with his young daughter. She learned easily but he couldn't get his fingers to follow his wishes. Yet when Chugani recently picked up a guitar, he found to his delight that "the songs are still there," much like the muscle memory for riding a bicycle". The musical Brain: Learning window 3 to 19 years. What we know: String players have a larger area of their sensory cortex dedicated to the fingering digits on their left hand. Few concert-level performers begin playing later than the age of 10. It is much harder to learn an instrument as an adult. What we can do about it: Sing songs with children. Play structured, melodic music. If a child shows any musical aptitude or interest, get an instrument into (his or) her hand early. NEWSWEEK, February 19,1996 pages 57-61
Arts Students Continue to Score Higher on SAT |
Students of music and the other arts continue to outperform their non-arts peers on the SAT, according to reports by the College Entrance Examination Board. As a whole, in 1995, SAT-takers with coursework or experience in music performance scored 51 points higher on the verbal portion of the test, and 39 points higher on the math portion, as compared to students no coursework or experience in in the arts. Scores for those with coursework in music appreciation were 61 points higher on the verbal and 46 points higher on the math portion. And longer arts study means higher SAT scores: in 1990, those who had studied the arts four or more years scored 59 points higher on the verbal and 44 points higher on the math portion, than students with no coursework or experience in the arts. To compare the scores below with data from 1990-1992, see Teaching Music, Aug. 1994, p.8. Data for these reports were gathered by the College Board at the time the SAT was given. For more information, contact Gail Crum, MENC information services, at 800-336-3768.
At BYU Dr. Linda Smith describes impact of test taking. Linda Shirley of Testing services describes the impact of music being used in the testing Services. . Rosalie Pratt says: "There appears to be an influence on learning because of music" There are definite physiological effects on the body such as heart beat, muscle tension, skin temperature and EMGs." Mozart appears to have some of the greatest influence because of the structure. BYU Daily Universe 48-96 page 20.
GJ Whitrow quote: Einstein: Improvise and arrive at solutions. Improvise and arrive at solutions. "He often told me that one of the most important things in his life was music. Whenever he felt that he had come to the end of the road or into a difficult situation in his work he would take refuge in music and that would usually resolve all his difficulties."
Spatial IQ |
Music lessons have been shown to improve child's performance in school. After eight months of keyboard lessons, preschoolers tested showed a 46% boost in their spatial IQ, which is crucial for higher brain functions such as complex mathematics. Frances Rauscher, Ph.D., Gordon Shaw, PhD, University of California, Irvine. National Coalition for Music Education
Abstract Reasoning |
Univ of California, Irvine, 36 people took standardized intelligence tests after three 10 minute periods of Mozart. Those who listened to Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos (K448) scored an average 119 - eight points higher than those who listened to a relaxation tape and nine points higher than those who listened to silence. Mozart's music is quite complex and very patterned said neurobiologist Frances H Rauscher, the study's lead author. Rauscher said the complex music may "prime" the brain for mathematics or other analytical work because it triggers the same brain activity. "We predict that music lacking complexity or which is repetitive may interfere with rather than enhance abstract reasoning," the researchers said in the journal Nature. UPI, Deseret News Oct 14 1993 Entire study documented in Nature Vol 365 14 October 1993.
Psychology Today July/August 1993 cites Irvine study and says Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik put people in that "mathy" fame of mind. Mozart's musical passages repeat themselves in a very logical and rhythmic way.
Effects of different kinds of music on mice |
Suffolk, Va, high school student David Merrell finished first in regional and state science fairs by demonstrating the effects of music on lab mice. After the mice ran through a maze in about 10 minutes,, Merrell played classical music to one group and heavy metal to another for 10 hours a day. After three weeks, the mice exposed to classical music made it through the maze in a minute and a half. The rock music group took 30 minutes. Said Merrell:"I had to cut my project short because all the hard-rock mice killed each other. None of the classical mice did that."
Music is one of the seven forms of human intelligence |
Music is everywhere - In bird song and in bubbling brooks and in laughter, even in the stars. Music is the universal language that transcends time and space. Music is one of the SEVEN FORMS OF HUMAN INTELLIGENCE, all equal in stature and in potential. And yet education - as is - is almost totally geared to nurturing linguistic and logical - mathematical abilities alone, leaving the other five forms - including music - neglected At elementary school level more than half of all school districts in the United States have no full-time music teacher. And thus our schools tend to refine intellects but neglect to discipline emotions. And undisciplined emotions keep getting us into trouble. The ugliest headlines are about somebody who may have been smart as all get-out, smart enough to be a bank executive or a politician or a scientist. But if emotionally colorblind, he's an unguided missile inevitably destined to self-destruct. Without the arts- including music-we risk graduating young people who are "right brain damaged." For anyone to grow up complete, music education is imperative. Case histories on file with the National Commission on Music Education uncover exciting correlation between the study of music an such critical work-place performance factors as self-esteem, self discipline, the ability to work in groups and higher cognitive and analytical skill. Music in schools, what little there is, is considered ancillary to "real education," as something of a "curricular icing." If it is to be reestablished as basic to education, as fundamental to being "an educated person," then educators and performers, composers and publishers-and those non-music-related industries-must close ranks to restore educational balance in schools. The National Commission on Music Education is such a coalition. Already, in its first year, it has won the support of 75 national organizations, willing, under a slogan of "Let's Make Music," to work together toward the musical enrichment of public schools' curricula. How does one plausibly argue for spending school money on music when we are graduating illiterates? Should we not be putting all our emphasis on reading, writing and math? The "back-to-basics curricula," while it has merit, ignores the most urgent void in our present system - absence of self-discipline. The arts, inspiring - indeed requiring- self discipline, may be more "basic" to our national survival than traditional credit courses. Presently we are spending 29 times more in science than on the arts, and the result so far is worldwide intellectual embarrassment. PAUL HARVEY NEWS, ABC 1991.