Posts tagged ‘brain’

BAM Radio

My COOLEST new discovery=

BAM! is an acronym for “body and mind.” BAM! Radio was conceived in 2007 on the premise that the key to success in life for children and youth is nuturing a healthy mind in a healthy body, and that the two are connected. So to put children on the right track it’s critical to nurture both.

It is a series of audio articles playable from their website.  You can also download these podcasts from itunes.  You know I’ve got to love a website that has a whole channel devoted to Music and Learning!  Some of my favorite headlines include:

Music in Education is Fluff Right?  Wrong!

How Music  Develops 21st Century Skills

Surprise! Children Don’t Have to Sit Still to Learn

Why a Garden of Children Should be Filled with Song

Starting Too Early, Starting Too Late? What’s Right?


There are many many more worth listening to!

October 9, 2010 at 2:57 pm Leave a comment

How Music Training Primes Nervous System and Boosts Learning

from ScienceDaily (July 20, 2010)

Those ubiquitous wires connecting listeners to you-name-the-sounds from invisible MP3 players — whether of Bach, Miles Davis or, more likely today, Lady Gaga — only hint at music’s effect on the soul throughout the ages.

Now a data-driven review by Northwestern University researchers that will be published July 20 in Nature Reviews Neuroscience pulls together converging research from the scientific literature linking musical training to learning that spills over to skills including language, speech, memory, attention and even vocal emotion. The science covered comes from labs all over the world, from scientists of varying scientific philosophies, using a wide range of research methods.

The explosion of research in recent years focusing on the effects of music training on the nervous system, including the studies in the review, have strong implications for education, said Nina Kraus, lead author of the Nature perspective, the Hugh Knowles Professor of Communication Sciences and Neurobiology and director of Northwestern’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory.

Scientists use the term neuroplasticity to describe the brain’s ability to adapt and change as a result of training and experience over the course of a person’s life. The studies covered in the Northwestern review offer a model of neuroplasticity, Kraus said. The research strongly suggests that the neural connections made during musical training also prime the brain for other aspects of human communication.

An active engagement with musical sounds not only enhances neuroplasticity, she said, but also enables the nervous system to provide the stable scaffolding of meaningful patterns so important to learning.

“The brain is unable to process all of the available sensory information from second to second, and thus must selectively enhance what is relevant,” Kraus said. Playing an instrument primes the brain to choose what is relevant in a complex process that may involve reading or remembering a score, timing issues and coordination with other musicians.

“A musician’s brain selectively enhances information-bearing elements in sound,” Kraus said. “In a beautiful interrelationship between sensory and cognitive processes, the nervous system makes associations between complex sounds and what they mean.” The efficient sound-to-meaning connections are important not only for music but for other aspects of communication, she said.

The Nature article reviews literature showing, for example, that musicians are more successful than non-musicians in learning to incorporate sound patterns for a new language into words. Children who are musically trained show stronger neural activation to pitch changes in speech and have a better vocabulary and reading ability than children who did not receive music training.

And musicians trained to hear sounds embedded in a rich network of melodies and harmonies are primed to understand speech in a noisy background. They exhibit both enhanced cognitive and sensory abilities that give them a distinct advantage for processing speech in challenging listening environments compared with non-musicians.

Children with learning disorders are particularly vulnerable to the deleterious effects of background noise, according to the article. “Music training seems to strengthen the same neural processes that often are deficient in individuals with developmental dyslexia or who have difficulty hearing speech in noise.”

Currently what is known about the benefits of music training on sensory processing beyond that involved in musical performance is largely derived from studying those who are fortunate enough to afford such training, Kraus said.

The research review, the Northwestern researchers conclude, argues for serious investing of resources in music training in schools accompanied with rigorous examinations of the effects of such instruction on listening, learning, memory, attention and literacy skills.

“The effect of music training suggests that, akin to physical exercise and its impact on body fitness, music is a resource that tones the brain for auditory fitness and thus requires society to re-examine the role of music in shaping individual development, ” the researchers conclude.

September 22, 2010 at 5:04 pm Leave a comment

Fostering a love of music in your family

Fostering a love of music in your family – In The Parenthood – Boston.com

The benefits of music education are well known: Playing an instrument can help the development of areas of the brain devoted to language and reasoning, reading music can help children understand fractions and proportional math and boost their abilities in science and technology, practicing music underscores the rewards of dedication and hard work, and performing in front of a crowd helps kids learn how to evaluate risk and handle anxiety. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, really.

In spite of this, music and arts education continues to be one of the first things on the chopping block as cash-strapped schools try to trim their budgets. What can parents do to bridge the gap at home?

May 31, 2010 at 10:10 pm Leave a comment

Music Training Enhances Brainstem Sensitivity to Speech Sounds

“Playing an instrument may help youngsters better process speech in noisy classrooms and more accurately interpret the nuances of language that are conveyed by subtle changes in the human voice,” says Nina Kraus, Hugh Knowles Professor of Neurobiology, Physiology and Communication Sciences at Northwestern University.   Science Daily

May 20, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment


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