Doctor Blog--Music and It's Impact on the Human Brain
Posted Jul 07 2008 7:12pm
Music is everywhere. It is arguably the only universal language. It crosses all verbal, age, religious, cultural barriers. Music has a profound effect on humans and learning music is a value that every parent should encourage for their children. To further educate my readers about the importance of music, I've put together a summary in this entry that can outline why music is so important and how it can be used as a tool for education.
Music reaches human brains through the ears. Auditory signals are routed to the brainstem, then to the thalamus, and finally to the auditory cortex in the temporal lobes on both sides of the brain. However, research indicates that processing and learning music probably affectsmany other parts of the brain (presumably because it is such a complex activity).
"The Mozart Effect" is a theory that states that spatial reasoning improves after listening to Mozart's music. The original experiment was done in1993 by Rauscher and Shaw from University of California at Irvine.
Unfortunately,other researchers have tried to replicate the experiment and have found no such effect.
Rauscher and Shaw didanother experiment in 1997 comparing children who received keyboard lessons with those receiving voice lessons, computer lessons, and no lessons. They found improvement in spatial-temporal reasoning among the children who took keyboard lessons only.
A Canadian program created by the Royal Conservatory of Music, (Learning Through the Arts or LTTA) followed elementary children for 3 years. It incorporated art, music, drama, and dance into regular elementary school science and math curriculum. This program reported that math scores rose significantly among those students who were included in the program compared to students attending schools where the program is not used.
Many articles have been written about music, its effect on the brain, and how music affects us from birth to adulthood.
In an upcoming entry, I'll include an interview with a lifelong music educator who has instructed small children through adults in the language of music. We will get a view of her perspective on the role that music can play in a person's life.
For a good summary of the research and conclusions go to: