Piano–a Major Brain Booster?

School is approaching, and (hopefully) every student is starting to give his or her brain a nudge, waking it up from a relaxing summer snooze. Parents are starting to think about what will help their kids do their best in school—good breakfasts? The best school supplies?

Actually, did you know that music lessons can be one of the best tools for students to exercise their brains and soak up school? Our Assistant Director, Laura Blanchard, wrote a research paper on this very topic for a class last semester. Read below for some fascinating info about music and the brain!

“IMusic-Brainn an article published in 2011, Katie Cole, a music educator, compiled a list of studies performed by scientists at top universities who investigated the effects of studying music in particular on students’ abilities to perform academic tasks. Michael Posner is one of the researchers Cole mentions; he and his team at the University of Oregon studied the effects of music training on cognition. More specifically, he wanted to know how music influenced a student’s attention and emotions—they hypothesized that attention training would change the students’ cognition so that they would be able to focus on schoolwork and other tasks. He says, ‘Attention training does, in fact, improve the underlying network that is involved in executive attention for effortful control of cognition and emotion…our EEG data showed clear evidence that training improved the efficiency of the executive attentional network in resolving conflict (or solving problems).’ Along with developing a student’s attention and focus skills, Elizabeth Spelke of Harvard University argues that it aids in developing mathematical skills. She and her team tested students in three different age groups—elementary school, middle school, and high school—and found that, particularly in the older two groups, students who had moderate to intensive musical training were more sensitive to geometric and spatial relationships.

“Katie Cole isn’t the only one to have found research regarding the benefits of the arts on students’ academic capabilities; in 2000, scientists analyzed ten years of SAT data and found that students who took four years of arts classes in high school scored higher on the math and English portions of the SAT, and students who participated in any kind of arts classes performed better than those who didn’t participate in the arts (Arts Education Partnership, 3). Arts students are also proven to ‘outperform their non-music peers in assessments of math’ (Arts Education Partnership, 3) as well as writing assessments.”

So give that brain a boost and sign your kids up for music lessons! We have available spots but they’re going fast!