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Music Education and Childhood Brain Development

By Annette Kingsbury

In Disney's movie "Fantasia," inanimate objects seem to come to life to the strains of some

powerful classical music.

Though it's only a cartoon, some researchers are now asking the question: Does music have some

"magic" powers to turn on the brain? Can people wondering how to deal with depression use

music as a tool? And if so, what kind of music?

As far back as the 19th century, music was believed to have an impact on the size of the brain.

Childhood brain development research has been going on for decades, but in recent years,

medical technology such as MRI actually allows a peek at the living brain at work. This allows

researchers to observe the effects of music on brain activity.

It's been dubbed "the Mozart effect" and though not yet fully understood, it has prompted the

packaging of classical music for children in the form of CDs and videos.

Rock a Bye Baby: Calming Baby with Beethoven


Former Georgia Sen. Zell Miller was so excited about the possibilities he devised "Beethoven for

Babies," asking lawmakers for money to send every newborn in Georgia home from the hospital

with a classical CD. In the end, the Sony Corporation picked up the tab for a year.

Researchers don't know yet whether simply listening to classical music from an early age affects

the brain. However, studies seem to suggest that studying music may have an impact, though

researchers aren't sure if that's cause or effect.

In other words, according to Norman Weinberger, a professor in the Department of Neurobiology

and Behavior at the University of California-Irvine, "The ability to learn to play an instrument at

an early age might occur only in children whose brains previously were overdeveloped in certain

areas."

Child Development Research Shows Fondness for Mozart

Another UCI professor, physicist Gordon Shaw, Ph.D., is a leader in the Mozart movement. He's

used only Mozart in his research (fitting, perhaps, since the composer was a child prodigy).

He has published studies showing that children who listened to Mozart and studied piano were

far ahead of their peers in math. Perhaps that's as good a reason as any for keeping elementary

music programs.

Carolyn Gilbreath, a consultant with the Oakland Intermediate School District in Michigan, has

studied the concept of "super learning." She said one theory is that the right music "sinks the

body into alpha (brain) waves."

Music Reduces Stress in Children - and Adults


It's the same concept behind meditation and some stress management workshops, she said. Some

believe the right tempo and type of music can also heal -- everything from depression to multiple

sclerosis. Getting in touch with the alpha waves "puts the two hemispheres of the brain into

sync," Gilbreath said.

"It's something about the tempo; there's nothing magical," she said. Admitting that she's not

musically trained herself, she added with a straight face, "I did read an article that says you

cannot use country/western music."

Facts on Growth: Babies to Young Adults

While experts warn that it's too early to get excited about magically turning children into super

learners with a wave of the baton, here's a sampling of what some researchers have observed in

their experiments:

Preschoolers who had keyboard training did better at math reasoning than another group that

had computer training instead.

College students who had received musical training before age 12 remembered significantly

more words from a list than other students.

Infants can distinguish differences in pitch, melody and rhythm from very early on. In fact, they

even seem to recognize music they were exposed to repeatedly in the womb.

Students who received daily music training for seven months had higher reading scores at the

end than did a control group. A year later, their scores were still higher than the control groups.

Preschoolers were able to learn body parts better in a lesson that used music and dance as

opposed to conventional lessons, or even one including movement but no music.


Impact on Instruction and Public School Policy

For at least a century, educators have believed that music instruction helps students in many

ways, like speech and language development, motor and rhythmic coordination, and social skills.

But experiments like these point to the possibility that music offers benefits well beyond that. In

fact, since music is common to all cultures, some are wondering: Is the brain hot-wired for

music?

Gilbreath says she's frustrated all this information hasn't really filtered down into classroom

practices. She is the mother of two high-school students.

"I really thought they were going to have a whole different educational experience than I did,"

she said. "But it's pretty much the same, (despite) all we know."

It's rare that she will run into a teacher who is actually using music to enhance learning. One way

to do so is to play music as an "active" part of a lesson while teaching the subject material. Then,

when an entire lesson is completed, music is played by itself for the students, a more "passive"

use.

Interestingly, Gilbreath said teachers in the field of special education seem more open to

experimenting with music.

Using Music to Boost Scores on Standardized Tests

Taking no chances, one Waterford, Michigan School played Mozart for students before they took

the standardized tests. Oh, and they used peppermint, too (its scent is also thought to be

relaxing).
"I think it's wonderful," said Shelly Rose, whose child attends the school. "If it gets people to

listen to classical music, I'm all for it."

Incorporating Music into Study Skills Students Can Use

Who wants to waste precious years of a child's life waiting for researchers to make up their

minds? Aside from having to endure the squeaks and squawks of a new musician, there's

practically no downside to getting a child into music education at an early age.

Will it guarantee future success in school? Not necessarily, but it can't hurt and at the very least

there's the appreciation of the art form itself, something that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.

"The more you use the brain, the better you get," Gilbreath said. "It's a muscle; use it or lose it."

Gilbreath noted that research has gone on for decades on Einstein's brain. Studies have shown

the brain of the great scientist (who, by the way, played the violin) is unique in its structure.

There's no way to know whether he was born that way or if it developed after birth. But in music,

as in the mystery of Einstein, even if all the answers aren't yet known, some inferences can be

drawn, Gilbreath believes.

"Music probably helps you make some (brain) connections you wouldn't have made," she said.

"A lot of this is still hypothetical. We know so little about the brain; we have some behaviors we

can't explain ..."

"There's nothing like music. It can't hurt people. It's very beneficial. I don't think it has any

downside at all."
Music Education and Childhood Brain Development

By Annette Kingsbury

I decided to choose this article that has title Music Education and Childhood Brain

Development. This article is written by Annette Kingsbury who graduated from Oakland

University, BA, cum laude, Russian language and civilization, Minors in French and history/

social science. She has a lot of experience, such as freelance writer in Edible WOW magazine

between 2010- this year (5 years), a freelance writer in RochesterMedia.com between 2010 until

March 2013 (3 years), a freelance writer in patch.com between October 2012 until December

2012, a freelance writer in Walker Professional Writing Services between September 2011 until

January 2012, a freelance writer in the Oakland Press between January 2010 until August 2011, a

public relations consultant in Rochester Area Heritage Festival between 2010 until 2011, a staff

writer in Observer and Eccentric Newspapers between March 1998 until June 2009, et cetera.

Also, she has title and appreciation as a Observer and Eccentric Journalist of the Year, Staff

writer at the Rochester Eccentric when it was awarded the 2005 Newspaper of the Year for

circulation class by the Suburban Newspaper Association, staff writer at the Lake Orion
Eccentric when it won the General Excellence award of the Michigan Newspaper Association,

Numerous individual writing awards, consistently excellent performance reviews.

Talk about this article that has title Music Education and Childhood Brain Development

presents about the music effects. There is information about music, such as positive effects, and

different suggestion that we know that we know it from this article.

- Summary or paraphrase or try to directly state what is the purpose of the article

--

From this article we know that actually music was believed to have an impact in the brain since

the 19th century. It is a long time ago.

This article mentions that music can help children in math, it is from sentences

He has published studies showing that children who listened to Mozart and studied

piano were far ahead of their peers in math. Perhaps thats as good a reason as any for

keeping elementary music programs.

Music can reduces stress in children and adults; it is from sentences

Some believe the right tempo and type of music can also healeverything from

depression to multiple sclerosis. Getting in touch with the alpha waves puts the two

hemispheres of the brain into sync, Gilbreath said.

I agree with these points, but I can add that statement, actually not only children and adults, but

music can reduce stress for old people, but not all of them. I think that because the facts in this
world where many old people sometimes spend their days to listening music. In films that

actually adapted from real life showed old people spend their daily life to listening something

that related to music.

This article is agreeable for infants until college students, because this article presents the

sampling of experiments such as sampling to infants, preschooler, students and college students.

The fact that exists in recent years is many of parents suggest for infants should be listened to

music. They said that it is good for infants to stimulate their brain since they are infants. In

addition, many people suggest that how to make bright brain that can memorize something,

people should take music to make it happens. Everyday infants should be listened music.

Though this article has strength, but this article also has some weakness, such as does not clear,

does not complete and does not present the negative effects of music. Examples: just classical

music such as Mozart and Beethoven that presents in this article, what about the other music?

In this article mentions that

Researchers don't know yet whether simply listening to classical music from an early

age affects the brain. However, studies seem to suggest that studying music may have an

impact, though researchers aren't sure if that's cause or effect.

What does only classical music has an impact? What about the pop music, rock music or others

genre music or music that has lyric? And what about only listening to music without studying

music? Does it have an impact?

According to Kun Sila Ananda (2014), available at http://www.merdeka.com/sehat/7-manfaat-

mengejutkan-dari-mendengarkan-musik.html ,based on researcher in the University of


Gothenburg, listening to favorite music everyday can lowered the level of stress. And researchers

at McGill University in Montreal showed that listening to pleasant music happy hormones that

trigger the release of dopamine. The brain is very complex and there a lot of elements that

could help create a feeling happy or unhappy and not surprisingly, the research showed the

release of dopamine, which is associated with feelings of pleasure as listening to music. These

could be concluded that listening to favorite music like pop music, rock music, jazz, country

music, instrumental music, et cetera, without studying music, it may be will help to defuse their

mind or defuse mind from stress, and it can be proved from my interview. I interviewed to those

who listening to music such as Korean music, west music, Indonesian music. Actually almost of

them said that listening to their favorite music can make calm, the depression is lowered, and

happy. These points indicate that not only classical music has an impact in the brain and if only

listening to music without studying music, it actually has an impact.

The other weakness of this article is from this following statement

In other words, according to Norman Weinberger, a professor in the Department of

Neurobiology and Behavior at the University of California-Irvine, "The ability to learn to

play an instrument at an early age might occur only in children whose brains previously

were overdeveloped in certain areas."

It has meaning that not all of children getting impact in their brain because of music. These

points do not give the age of children who getting impact. This is one of paragraph from this

article that does not complete to give information. However, in this article presents sampling of

some researcher have observed in their experiments, such as for preschoolers, college students,
infants, and students, but we do not know yet how many all of their exact age that getting an

impact of music in their brain.

To sum up, essentially music has an impact in brain. Many positive impacts that we get from

music, such as reduces stress in children, adults, and old people; calming baby; infants can

distinguish differences in pitch, melody and rhythm from very early on; can make higher score;

or boost scores on standardized tests, et cetera. Music also can not hurt people in some case. I

other hand, I think if people want to get positive impact, it depends on their selves, whether it is

music that they listen is their favorite or not. It is because music that has exact tempo and

appropriate type, could give helpful impact.

References:

http://www.eduguide.org/article/music-education-and-childhood-brain-development

http://www.merdeka.com/sehat/7-manfaat-mengejutkan-dari-mendengarkan-musik.html