Tidbits on projects I have worked on and other news.
"Although listening to music is common in all societies, the biological determinants of listening to music are largely unknown. According to a new study, listening to classical music enhanced the activity of genes involved in dopamine secretion and transport, synaptic neurotransmission, learning and memory, and down-regulated the genes mediating neurodegeneration. Several of the up-regulated genes were known to be responsible for song learning and singing in songbirds, suggesting a common evolutionary background of sound perception across species."
Read the entire article here --> Listening to classical music modulates genes that are responsible for brain functions
"Many parents find small ways to help their children with school homework each day. They also may know the basics of how to help their children with things like swinging a baseball bat, throwing a football or swimming. But when it comes time to playing a musical instrument, many students quit too early because their parents have no idea how to help even the slightest bit. Whether your child has just come home with their instrument for the first time or they have been playing for a while, there are a few things you can do right now in order to ensure your child continues their successful study of music for years to come..."
Read the entire article here --> 7 Easy Things Parents Can Do Right Now to Extend Their Child’s Musical Life
“In some sense I feel like music training lead to the high-speed legacy of Google for me,” Page said during a recent interview with Fortune. “In music
you’re very cognizant of time. Time is like the primary thing.”
Read the entire article here --> How music education influenced Larry Page
“This research demonstrates that community music programs can literally ‘remodel’ children’s brains in a way that improves sound processing, which could lead to better learning and language skills...”Read the entire Northwestern University article here --> Community Music Programs Enhance Brain Function in At-Risk Children
"There is a very strong correlation between childhood engagement in the creative arts and measurable success later in life, researchers at Michigan State University have found..."Read the entire article here --> How Music Could Make You a Rocket Scientist
“There’s nothing like music to teach you that eventually if you work hard enough, it does get better. You see the results.”Read the entire NY Times article here --> Is Music the Key to Success?
"Dear Piano Parents:
You're probably getting mailings right now about fall activities for your kids. The soccer coach wants to know if you're doing traveling team, the Little League coach is scheduling practices, the dance teacher is putting her classes together. And you're wondering about piano lessons for little Johnny or Suzie..."
Read the entire blog posted by pianist, music educator, and author Karen Berger here --> The Truth About Piano Lessons.
You'll be a smarter adult because of it. "Use it or lose it, or lose it less quickly" :) Text below taken from this article --> Musicians' Brains Might Have an Edge on Aging
By Barbara Bronson Gray
THURSDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- It's been said that music soothes the savage beast, but if you're the one playing the instrument it might benefit your brain.
A growing body of evidence suggests that learning to play an instrument and continuing to practice and play it may offer mental benefits throughout life. Hearing has also been shown to be positively affected by making music.
The latest study, published in the July issue of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, shows that musical instrument training may reduce the effects of mental decline associated with aging. The research found that older adults who learned music in childhood and continued to play an instrument for at least 10 years outperformed others in tests of memory and cognitive ability.
It also revealed that sustaining musical activity during advanced age may enhance thinking ability, neutralizing any negative impact of age and even lack of education. It's unclear, however, whether starting an instrument in adulthood provides any mental advantages.
"Behaviors can change your brain," said study author Brenda Hanna-Pladdy, an assistant professor of neurology, radiology and imaging sciences at Emory University, in Atlanta.
The study confirms and refines findings from previous research published April 2011 in the journal Neuropsychology.
In childhood, when the brain is still developing, it seems that learning a musical instrument and continuing to play it for at least a decade or more may lay the groundwork for benefits later in life, Hanna-Pladdy said. But it's also valuable to then pick up the instrument in middle age and start playing again, she noted.
In this study, 70 musicians and non-musicians aged 59 to 80 were evaluated by neuropsychological tests and surveyed about general lifestyle activities. The musicians scored higher on tests of mental acuity, visual-spatial judgment, verbal memory and recall, and motor dexterity.
Hanna-Pladdy, a flutist, became interested in studying the impact of music education on the brain through her study of people with skilled movement disorders, such as those who had suffered a stroke. She realized that music could be a natural way to offer multi-sensory stimulation, an effective way to treat such disorders. She then became interested in learning more about the actual effect of musical training on the brain.
Why study music education as opposed to calculus or history? One reason is that evaluating the impact of music education is relatively easy because most people can specifically quantify the number of years they studied an instrument, Hanna-Pladdy said. It's also simpler to quantify the time spent playing music than hours devoted to other activities, such as crossword puzzles, reading or playing games. "Musical activity requires years of practice and is a challenging cognitive exercise," she said.
Cheryl Grady, a senior scientist at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Centre, in Toronto, said the research confirms what has been known for some time: Education can help protect against cognitive decline in older adults.
Grady pointed out that it remains unclear what is actually causing the beneficial effect. "We still don't know that much about what actually happens in the brain. My hunch is that in terms of these results, it has to do with the practicing, the continued stimulation of the brain," she said.
She has studied the impact of learning a second language on the brain, which Grady said is related to the need to inhibit one language system when speaking, reading or thinking in the other. The mental process required to play a musical instrument may work in the same way as juggling dual languages to strengthen the connections in your brain over time, she noted.
The bottom line boils down to something simple: "Use it or lose it, or lose it less quickly," Grady said.
While the study found an association between musical activity and staying mentally sharp, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
Visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine for more on cognitive impairment.
Because you'll be a better listener as an adult! The text below is taken from this article here --> Childhood Music Lessons May Create Better Listeners -- Arthur
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Adults who studied music during childhood have an improved ability to process sounds and are better listeners, according to a new study.
Northwestern University researchers who looked at 45 adults found that compared to those with no musical training during childhood, those with even a few years of musical training as children had enhanced brain responses to complex sounds. Most in the study had begun music lessons at about age 9.
This made them more effective at hearing the fundamental frequency, the study found. This is the lowest frequency in sound and is crucial for speech and music perception, and enables recognition of sounds in complex and noisy hearing settings.
"Thus, musical training as children makes better listeners later in life," Nina Kraus, a professor of neurobiology, physiology and communication sciences, said in a university news release.
"Based on what we already know about the ways that music helps shape the brain, the study suggests that short-term music lessons may enhance lifelong listening and learning," she added.
The participants were divided into three groups: those with no musical training, those with one to five years of lessons, and those with six to 11 years.
Many children take music lessons for a few years, but few continue with formal music instruction beyond middle or high school.
"We help address a question on every parent's mind: 'Will my child benefit if she plays music for a short while but then quits training?'" Kraus said.
The study was published in the Aug. 22 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.
While the research showed an association between musical training and better listening skills, it does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
SOURCE: Northwestern University, news release, Aug. 21, 2012
Another one of my students, twins David and Nina, performing a tune they wrote themselves. It's pretty good and catchy, in my opinion. I started giving them lessons at the ages of 7, and their progression on their instruments was pretty impressive. With the support and encouragement of their parents, and constantly listening to music, they not only were able to start playing well early on, but were also writing their own songs and having their dad record them on his computer. Awesome, I say!