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Erin OConnell

Stephanie Zukowski

31 August 2017

Music Impacting the Brain and Learning


How is music supporting student learning? I have never realised the importance of music

education. I always saw it as a fun elective for kids, or a brain break. Music is seen to most as an

enjoyable pastime and isnt seen as being that important. I have tried playing music but didnt

pursue it in my younger years. I didnt realise how much this has affected my learning until now.

Through some research and help from my professor I found out some interesting facts that

provided some answers as to how music supports student learning.

I'm going to begin with an article that was provided from my professor that discusses

how to use music in the classroom when dealing with language arts. I absolutely love language

arts and am constantly trying to find ways to implement other subjects to help students share my

interest. This article definitely helped me and is one I plan to keep. The article, 8 Ways to Use

Music in the Language Arts Classroom, does exactly what the title says. However, this article

does explain the importance of music throughout a community. What I found interesting from

this was the activities listed of course. Songs as Writing Prompts is an activity that even I

wouldnt have mind doing in school when I was a student. I would probably use it as a opener in

my class or a way to get students in that writing mentality. I would also differentiate the genres

and whether the music have lyrics or not. Jingles to Teach Persuasion, is another that I feel is a

really good idea for students to learn persuasive writing. I would probably use it as an end of the

unit activity and see how well the students really understand persuasive writing. The activities

were not the only thing that I enjoyed reading, but the author describing how they use music to

set a tone with their class was very insightful. It does make sense as to how music is a good way

to share similar experiences with others.

The next article I used was one that I found on my own. 20 Important Benefits of Music

in Our Schools, is an article that again does what the title says but I liked this one because it
provided ideas from many aspects of learning. A lot of the points mentioned were ones that I

found very intriguing, but I of course do need to narrow this down. Increased Coordination is

very interesting to me because I was raised around sports more than music and I never made the

connection that music could help your throwing and catching skills. It does make sense though

because when playing an instrument students are using all sorts of motor skills just like when

playing sports. Another point that was brought up is the fact that students who do play a musical

instrument do end up being more disciplined. This makes total sense and is the reason I wish I

played instruments growing up. The only way a person gets better at playing the piano is by

practicing. Students who develop the self discipline to practice their instrument of course will

end up doing better in other subjects because they developed that disciplin. I got my discipline

through sports but I always wish I would've pushed myself into continuing past 6th grade with

the piano. This next point pertains to not only music but the arts in general. Students who

participate in the arts develope creative thinking. Of course it takes creative thinkers to build the

arts but its hard to teach creative thinking when youre in the middle of a math lesson. I feel that

school may slowly be drifting from creative thinking and that is something that students really

need. Using music as a way to implement creative thinking is extremely important and is useful

for other subjects. I enjoyed this article, but I wouldve liked to have seen the author go further

into each of the topics they brought up.

Now, I learned a lot from the Ted Talks video my professor had shared with me. The

video shared with me is titled,What if Every Child Had Access to Music Education From

Birth?. This video gave a ton of information on how music affected the brain. It also broke that

down to how music could affect a developing child's brain. Many facts within this video got my

attention but some really jumped out at me. First off the fact that just listening to music fires off
more neurons than anything else. Even reading didnt spark as much brain activity as listening to

music does. Another thing that I thought was very interesting was the fact that musicians have a

stronger connection between both sides of their brain. Ive always heard that people are either

left or right side dominate. I didnt know musicians were more ambidextrous. Which probably

plays to the other point that was made in the video that musicians are better at memorizing

things. This makes sense since their brain is trained to connect memories with emotion and

feeling. What really stood out to me is how music and language are so closely connected. In the

video it explains how babies use the areas in their brain that is for music to interpret their

mothers voices. I found this as one of my surprised moments when studying about this. I hadnt

thought that the connections for music in the brain were even made at such an early stage in life.

I had no idea that just listening to music sparked so much activity in a human's brain.

This last video that I found was short, but it contained a lot of information about music

and how it affects humans. How Music Affects Your Brain, is a video from Discovery News. I

enjoyed this video because I found my favorite and most surprising fact. I have found myself to

get emotional when listening to certain songs and I had no idea it had to do with music changing

the chemical balances in my brain. Music actually changes how your body functions when

listening to it. How insane is that? This video shocked me when pointing out that humans and

song birds are the only species that are able to make their breathing and heart beat try to match

the beat of the music they are listening to. I have never heard that before and I wonder how

music impacts song birds since they are constantly whistling toons. The video also discussed the

impact of studying music. Just like before it brought up how people who study music have a

stronger bond between the two sides of their brain. These people will often use both sides of the

brain which makes them more creative thinkers. Also since music sparks the Hippocampus in the
brain that is responsible for memories, people with alzheimer's are able to remember things

through music that they may have listened to a long time ago. Music is that powerful! What else

that I found surprising was that listening to music over 95 decibels can decrease a person's

mental and physical reaction times. Music actually affects people physically.

Through all this research I have learned so much about music. I do feel that music is a lot

more important for not only adults but children. It has an affect on people physically, mentally,

and even intellectually. I understand a lot more why Im required to learn about it now as an

educator. I see the importance and how helpful it really is. Humans are made to have music. Its

how we connect on a deeper means than just physically or mentally. It touches everyone. Music

supports learning because it strengthens the parts of the brain that they use for their other

subjects. Music is truly an important subject that hasnt gotten the credit it needs.

References Commented [1]: There are some formatting problems


on this page for APA
20 Important Benefits of Music In Our Schools - NAfME. (2014, July 21). Retrieved from

https://nafme.org/20-important-benefits-of-music-in-our-schools/
8 Ways to Use Music in the Language Arts Classroom | Edutopia. (2014, March 28). Retrieved

from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/using-music-strategies-language-arts-classroom-heather-

wolpert-gawron

How Music Affects Your Brain [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpUVMpX62nw

What if every child had access to music education from birth? | Anita Collins |

TEDxCanberra[Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueqgenARzlE