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Recently, Simon Varga, Junior School Music Coordinator and I attended ‘Bigger, Better Brains’ professional development session presented by award winning Australian neuro-musical educator, Dr Anita Collins. The session addressed the positive impact learning a musical instrument has on the brain. We explored in-depth science around the impacts of music learning on brain development. This followed a practical session with Dr Collins to find applications and key concepts in neuroscience, music and the brain for the classroom.

Neuroscience and psychology researchers have done extensive studies over the last 20 years to understand how the brain processes music and why music learning is such a cognitively unique activity. The findings of the studies are staggering. Musically trained children have better language and communication skills, can focus for longer and are more likely to stick with difficult problems until they solve them. They are able to control their own emotional responses, understand the emotional responses of others while having significantly better working and long-term memory systems.

These enhancements support higher levels of overall academic achievement, motivation, stress management, self-regulation and awareness. Most notably, music learning has been found to improve neural communication issues associated with autism, ADHD, dyslexia, reading and language learning delays. The research is now starting to reveal why music learning is so effective at enhancing brain function.

Both Simon and I look forward to sharing more outcomes from the ‘Bigger, Better Brains’ research.
Philip Walsh
Director of Music