The Power of Music!

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Music has been shown to enhance our ability to subconsciously process large amounts of information at an accelerated speed (Blakemore and Frith, 2000). However, one’s ability to do so depends greatly on their prior exposure to listening and playing music.  Musical experiences can further enhance processing information such as language, which consequently impacts reading skills.

Studies have been conducted to show the relation of musical exposure to children’s cognitive development. One study found, that children at the age of eight who had only 8 weeks of musical training differed from controls in their cortical event related potentials (ERPs) than children who had received no musical training (Moreno and Besson, 2006).

A similar study measured the brain activity of children from ages 4 to 6 who were given music training 25 minutes for 7 weeks. Those children who had received musical training had increased cognitive processing compared to those who did not have musical training (Flohr et al., 2000).

Musical training also helps with language development. Studies have proven that having musical skills predicts the ability to differentiate pronunciation in a second language (Slevc and Miyake, 2006) as well as improve the reading abilities of children in their first language (Anvari et al., 2002).

Further studies examined kindergarten children who received 4 months of music instruction for 30 minutes once per week. The instruction included active music making, understanding beats, rhythm, pitch as well as the association of sounds with symbols. The children who received the music instruction showed significantly greater gains in phonemic awareness when compared to the control group.

Overall, the results of the studies imply that learning and playing music plays a major role in developing improved cognitive functioning, language skills, speech, and literacy. The earlier the exposure to active music participation, and the greater the length of participation, the greater the impact on developing skills.

Read the full article here!

Anvari S.H., Trainor L.J., Woodside J. and Levy B.Z. (2002). Relations among musical skills, phonological processing, and early reading ability in preschool children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 83, 111-130.

Blakemore, S.J. & Frith, U. (2000) The implications of recent developments in neuroscience for research on teaching and learning. London: Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Flohr, J.W., Miller, D.C., deBeus, R. (2000) EEG studies with young children, Music Educators Journal, 87(2), 28-32.

Hallem, S. (2012). The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people, International Journal of, 28(3)

Moreno, S. and Besson, M. (2006) Musical training and language-related brain electrical activity in children. Psychophysiology, 43,  287-291

Does the “distance” in distance education really matter?

photo-4Many people are concerned with the “distance” in distance education. They are concerned that the distance is a barrier and a detriment to the learning process. Contrary to popular belief, studies have shown otherwise.

A study conducted by E.K. Orman and J.A. Whitaker compared an in person music lesson to that of one over video-conference.

Results of the study would show an overall advantage to the videoconference lesson over the lesson done in person.

  • 26% increase of focus in fingering during the distance lesson. Other factors, including increased eye contact and decrease in cancellations were in favor of the distance program.
  • Less than 3% of the time was spent on technological problems, a major concern for those engaging in distance learning.

Another concern is the lack of touching, pointing, and other physical interactions that come with a distance program. The study concluded that time spent engaging the student with such physical interaction was less than 1% while in person.

Read the full article here!

Orman, E. K. and Whitaker, J. A. (2010). Time usage during face-to-face and synchronous distance music lessons. American Journal of Distance Education, 24(2), 92-103.