music and cognition

The Rock ‘n’ Read Project – ‘If you can’t read, you can’t succeed.’

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The Rock ‘n’ Read Project in Minnesota uses proven, research-based strategies which help children to read at their grade level through singing. Singing is the fastest way to learn new vocabulary and increase comprehension and fluency.

Neuroscientists have found that making music, moving, and creative play develop a brain that is more able to acquire language, improves reading, helps in understanding mathematics, and many other executive functions such as planning, creating, and focusing. Neuroscientists such as Dr. Nina Kraus at Northwestern University are calling for schools to get children singing and moving daily. Keeping a steady beat and singing can remediate ineffective areas of the brain.

Children who cannot read at their grade level struggle to keep up, and often drop out of school. Reading is the most important factor in closing the achievement gap, and the Rock ‘n’ Read Project’s strategies have shown a dramatic improvement in reading achievement.

Founded by Bill Jones and Ann Kay, the Rock ‘n’ Read Project is a non-profit organisation run by a board of directors.

Source:
The Rock ‘n’ Read Project: http://www.rocknreadproject.org/

Musical training and executive functioning

Professor Nadine Gaab, associate professor of paediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital Boston and the Harvard Medical School, and a member of the faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has shown that people who play a musical instrument regularly have higher executive function (EF) skills than non-musicians. EF skills are cognitive processes that include solving problems, setting goals, and thinking flexibly.

In a study published in 2014, Gaab and her research team had examined 30 adults between 18 and 35, and 27 children between 9 and 12. Half the adult participants and 15 of the children were regarded as ‘musical’ – the adults were either seeking or had obtained a performance degree and practiced at least eight hours a week, and the children had been taking private instrumental lessons for an average of 5.2 years – while the non-musicians had no musical training outside of the requirements of the general music curriculum in school.

The researchers examined the participants as they performed various tasks measuring EF skills. Overall, the musical participants performed better on several, although not all, of the executive function tests. Both adult and children musicians exhibited higher cognitive flexibility than non-musicians. The adult musicians showed a more proficient working memory, and the child musicians exhibited faster processing speed, than their non-musician peers.

SOURCES:

Plosone.org: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4061064/pdf/pone.0099868.pdf Harvard Graduate School of Education: http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/16/03/music-lessons

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING
TARGET GROUP: CHILDREN & ADULTS
AGE: 9-12 YEARS & 18-35 YEARS
MUSIC TYPE: GENERAL
TYPE OF STUDY: ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: 57 (27 CHILDREN & 30 ADULTS)
PERIOD OF STUDY: UNKNOWN
DATE: 2014
PLACE: USA

Is Music Good For Your Child?

Education Through Music guitar class

Thanks to: Education Through Music for the photo by Anna Yatskevich

We all know, instinctively, that music is good for us, and for our children. Who can deny the affect that music has on us, its ability to express and understand complex feelings, and our drive as humans to make music, and to share it at the most important points in our lives?

And those responsible for our education systems across the world seem to agree, giving music a central place and in many cases prioritising it above other arts. References are often made to music’s ‘instrumental’ benefits – improving academic achievement, personal development, and life skills.

In this article on the Musicstage website, Anita Holford and Dyfan Wyn Owen, both parents of a young musician, look at whether learning music really can make a difference to childrens’ futures.

(Please note you can ask for the full article to be emailed to you from Musicstage, or you can sign-up to Musicstage, or become a subscriber).

Source:
http://musicstage.co/Musicstage-GB/82e08e38af2d40d98151449f2eff6da2-Is-music-good-for-your-child/WebViewer