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Music for Education & Wellbeing Podcast: Dr Anita Collins on music & the brain

A new podcast by Anita Holford, co-editor of Music Education Works, features Australian music educator and researcher, Dr Anita Collins. You may know Anita from her TED Ed lesson, How playing an instrument benefits your brain, and her TEDx talk, What if every child had access to music education from birth? And more recently, she’s starred in the Australian version of a British TV show, ‘Don’t Stop the Music’.


U.S. music merchants charity supports music education research

Research supported by U.S charity the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation – which is funded by NAMM Members through trade association activities and private donations –
is expanding understanding about the impact of music making and music education, the importance of music at every stage of life, and relationships between music and physical and emotional wellness.

Brain imaging shows enhanced executive brain function in people with musical training

Another study has revealed a biological link between early music training and improved executive functioning in children and adults. The controlled study by researchers from the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children’s Hospital used functional MRI brain imaging to show the connection. Executive functions are the high-level cognitive processes that enable people to quickly process and retain information, regulate their behaviours, make good choices, solve problems, plan and adjust to changing mental demands.

Music training develops neural mechanisms needed for focused attention

A study by researchers led by Dr Nina Kraus of Northwestern University suggests that music training can help people’s auditory attention to mature during pivotal developmental years and is believed to provide the first direct evidence of a ‘biological index for enhanced selective auditory attention in young musicians’. The researchers say that is an important consideration for educators and educational policy-makers involved in curriculum design.

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