• Music Education Advocacy

    NAfME Music Education Round Table


    Westchester County School Music Association

    New York State School Music Association

    Music, Mind, and Health

    Adam Boulanger, Graham Grindlay, and Nick Knouf

    Music affects us in ways that are more direct and substantial than just about any other stimuli. But how, and why is music so meaningful? Furthermore, can the unique status of music be leveraged for the betterment of our health? Our interest in the new field of music, mind and health will develop the technologies and research required to answer these questions.

    We are currently working in several different areas of music augmentation, with both healthy and pathological individuals. For more detail about our current thinking regarding how new music technologies are implied for research and treatment, click on any of the following categories or selected projects.

    Current Directions in Music, Mind, and Health:

    A focus on Alzheimer's Disease
    A focus on Autism
    A focus on Emotion
    A focus on Performance

    Selected Projects in Music, Mind and Health:

    Music and Child Development

    "The word is out: Researchers have discovered a way to make kids smarter. And savvy parents are signing their children up for private music lessons while school boards debate the role of music in the public school curriculum."   These are the words of Joan Schmidt, member of the board of directors of the National School Boards Association, in support of music programs in our schools.

    Statistics indicate that if your child participates in music, he or she is likely to earn higher grades and score better on standardized tests. Now there is powerful evidence of a cause and effect link between music instruction and intelligence.

    A study conducted by psychologist Dr. Frances Rauscher of the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh and physicist Gordon Shaw of the University of California at Irvine produced startling results. Preschoolers who received piano instruction scored 34% higher than those who did not study piano in tests to measure spatial-temporal reasoning — that function necessary to understand math, science and engineering. They also scored higher by the same margin than children who studied computer skills!

    There are dozens of recent scientific studies which indicate that music making is a key component of academic and social success.  These findings show that music training at a young age may actually change how your brain works.  Brain imaging has shown that a region called the planum temporale (which is involved in auditory perception) in the left hemisphere of the brain is larger in musicians compared to non-musicians.  Researchers have found that the left side of the brain may be more developed in musicians, and therefore, adults with music training have better verbal memory than non-musicians.

    *Research shows that children who participate in the arts on a regular basis are:

     4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
         3 times more likely to be elected to class office
        • 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
        • 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
        • 4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem

    *In addition, young arts participants as compared with their peers are likely to:

        • Read for pleasure nearly twice as often
        • Participate in youth groups nearly 4 times as frequently
        • Perform community service nearly twice as often

    *Source:  Dr. Shirley Brice Heath, Stanford University, for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
    "A-Sharp to A-Plus...Boost Your Kids' Brainpower with Music"
    Information provided by Lori Moran