Music educators have always believed that a child’s cognitive, motivational, and communication skills are more highly developed when exposed to music training. Now, study after study proves that music instruction is essential to children’s overall education because it improves their academic performance. The positive effects of music education are finally being recognized by science, verifying what music teachers have always suspected.
Music enters the brain through the ears. Pitch, melody, and intensity of notes are processed in several areas of the brain such as the cerebral cortex, the brain stem, and the frontal lobes. Both the right-brain and left-brain auditory cortex interprets sound.
Feza Sancar (1999) writes that the right-brain auditory cortex specializes in determining hierarchies of harmonic relations and rich overtones and the left-brain auditory cortex deciphers the sequencing of sound and perception of rhythm.
Many studies have been performed to examine the affect of musical instruction on the brain. For example, researchers at the University of Munster, Germany, (1998) reported that music lessons in childhood actually enlarge the brain. The auditory cortex is enlarged by 25% in musicians compared to those who have never played an instrument. According to the study by Frances Rauscher of the University of California, Irvine, (1997) links between neurons in the brain are strengthened with music lessons. Dr. Frank Wilson’s study (1989) involving instrumental music instruction and the brain reveal that learning to play an instrument refines the development of the brain and the entire neurological system.
Curriculum areas that music instruction affects most i...
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...who took coursework in music as compared to those with no music coursework.
University of Munster, Germany (1998) Researchers find active music making expands the brain. Nature, April 23,1998. Retrieved April 23, 2003, from http://www.childrensmusicworkshop.com/feature.html.
A discussion of their 1998 discoveries concerning how and where the brain is enlarged through practice at playing a musical instrument. Their findings include the earlier a student begins musical training, the larger some portions of the brain appear.
Wilson, F. (1989). Music and the brain. Retrieved April 23, 2003, from http://www.childrensmusicworkshop.com/musicopensmind.html.
Dr. Wilson reports that learning to play an instrument refines the development of the brain and the entire neurological system. He believes music instruction is necessary for the total development of the brain.
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