And This is Your Brain on Music

by Abby @ Quaver on October 7, 2011

in In the Quaver Classroom!,Music Education News

In this edition of our peek at Music Education Research:

. . . And This is Your Brain on Music!

It turns out that there are good scientific reasons that we play lullabies to children at bedtime instead of “The Theme from ‘Rocky.'”

From a raft of studies cited in a journal called The Neuroscientist*, we learn that music has the potential to:

  • influence heartbeat
  • alter the metabolism
  • reduce pain and stress
  • aid in the release of emotions
  • speed healing and recovery in surgery patients
  • relieve fatigue
  • and stimulate creativity, sensitivity, and thinking.

Music is practically a miracle drug.

In his book Brain-Based Learning: The New Paradigm of Teaching, author Eric Jensen states,

“Teachers who use music appropriately have a tremendous advantage; it’s like having a second instructor in the class to manage the emotional state of students (pg. 76).”

Indeed, within each of us resonates a stable molecular wavelength; music operates on frequencies of its own. When they’re in sync, we relax, learn, innovate, perhaps feel an irresistible desire to pick daisies. When they’re out of sync, it produces terrible, rotten, no-good days.

Jensen challenges readers to think of ways to creatively employ music.

What might you play to underscore an important moment or theory?

What music would you use to wake your students, warm them up for a test, or calm them down after rambunctious activity?

Don’t be afraid to try out possibilities. Yes, musical tastes of your students will vary but what a wonderful opportunity to model the give-and-take of compromise!

*Source: Wan, Catherine Y. and Schlaug, Gottfried. “Music making as a tool for promoting brain plasticity across the life span,” Neuroscientist, vol. 16, 5 (2010): 566-577.

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