HOW MUSIC AFFECTS BRAIN DEVELOPMENT
Music is a universal language and mankind's oldest art form. Even before a child learns to speak, they learn to communicate and connect with song and sound. Children take to music naturally. Some suggest that babies are born with inherent musical capabilities because their responses to music are immediate and instinctive: they are not learned.
While every child can enjoy, learn and grow through music, there is increasing evidence to show that active participation in musical activities can actually alter the anatomy of the brain. Researchers believe that early musical experiences intensify the development of neuronal synapses. By increasing the number of interconnections between brain cells, music essentially enhances a child's ability to think, learn, reason and create.
It is important to note however, that for music to have a profound effect on brain development, a child must physically engage in musical activities. Furthermore, these activities must provide a comprehensive sensory experience. It is not enough for a child just to listen to music. They need to take part - to feel, make, hear and memorize sounds and patterns; to sing, clap dance and remember movements. The quality and timing of these musical experiences are paramount.
Dr Gordon Shaw, a world renowned pioneer in music and brain studies with over 25 years of research, describes "music as a window into higher brain function".
WORLDWIDE RESEARCH DISCOVERIES
• Music lessons have been shown to improve a child's performance in school.
• In a recent experiment, after 8 months of lessons, pre-schoolers showed a 46% boost in their spatial IQ which is crucial for higher brain functions such as mathematics.
• Students who were exposed to music-based lessons scored a full 100% higher on fraction texts than those who learned in a conventional manner.
• Research reveals that pre-school years are the optimal "learning time" for developing musical ability.
• Young children with developed rhythm skills perform better academically.
• In a ten-year study in the US, which tracked over 25,000 students, a direct correlation between music studies and improved school results has been acknowledged.
• A two-year study in Switzerland involving 1,200 children in 50 classes, scientifically demonstrated how music improved children's reading and verbal skills through enhanced concentration, memory and self expression.
• Other findings revealed that the children in the study had better interpersonal relationships, experienced a greater enjoyment of school, were less stressed during testing and were better able to handle performance pressures.
• A series of studies conducted in Europe in the 1950s concluded that learning and playing music not only improved academic performance but also improved memory, reasoning, working as a team, time management and the ability to think creatively.
• Music is now being recognized as a form of intelligence, not just a manifestation of it.
• Strong focus on fun, sensory-based activities enhances your child's learning experience and increases the impact and overall benefits afforded by music.
• Music will improve your child's memory, problem solving techniques, understanding and recollection.
• Music aids language development.
International Foundation for Music Research
American Music Conference
American Music Association
Australian Music Association
Forte School of Music