Apparently, a lot of you enjoyed the article from last week about Your Brain On Music by Daniel Levitin. Here’s a little more info from the book I thought I’d share…
“Right from birth and through the early years, the brain undergoes a period of development, when new neural connections are forming more rapidly than at any other time in our lives, and during our mid-childhood years, the brain starts to prune these connections, retaining only the most important and most used ones. This becomes the basis for our understanding of music, ultimately the basis for what we like in music, what music moves us, and how it moves us. This is not to say that we can’t learn to appreciate new music as adults, but basic structural elements are incorporated into the very wiring of our brains when we listen to music early in our lives.
Many people say that the music lessons they took as a child didn’t take. But, research has shown that even a small exposure to music lessons taken in childhood creates neural circuits for music processing that are enhanced and more efficient than for those who lack training. Music lessons teach us to listen better, and they accelerate our ability to discern structure and form in music, making it easier for us to tell what music we like what we don’t like.
How did music come to be so important to us, as humans? Daniel Levitin says one theory is that music evolved in our species because it promoted cognitive development. Music may be the activity that prepared our pre-human ancestors for speech communication, and for the very cognitive, representational flexibility necessary to become humans. Singing and instrumental activities might have helped our species to refine motor skills, paving the way for the development of the exquisitely fine muscle control required for vocal or signed speech. Because music is a complex activity, it may help prepare the developing infant for its mental life ahead. It shares many of the features of speech and it may form a way of practicing speech perception in a separate context. Rhythm stirs our bodies. Tonality and melody stir our brains. The coming together of rhythm and melody bridges our cerebellum (the motor control, primitive little brain) and our cerebral cortex (the most evolved, human part of our brain).”
Wow, even more reason for enrolling your child in our Spring semester! We know you’re especially busy this time of year, so here’s a link right to our registration page. Start by clicking on your preferred location.
Happy Holidays, Everyone!
(Many thanks to clker.com for the cool brain clip-art.)