A metaphor for our brain

How the Brussels cacophony instructs us to teach children music

On the night train from Berlin to Brussels, I was delighted to find some articles supporting my opinion about music's importance for our learning performance. For a long time, I have been saying that music can help with studying; it can make you more focused (as long as the music does not distract you) and put you in a good mood, making it easier (and more fun) to absorb knowledge.

You won't believe your ears! For those who want to try it, I made a playlist to help you learn. Feel free to try it!

But that's not all; research shows that music helps children in their learning development in multiple ways. So every day it is not paid attention to is a significant loss. For MusikRoel, this is very important, and I will now go into more detail.

Music and language development

First, Wouter Schenke, Edith van Eck, Eke Krijnen, and Margriet Heim argue that music and language development coincide. According to the authors, there are no hard scientific figures, but there is plenty of evidence from experience. Teachers can use music to eliminate language disorders. Because of the different pitches, rhythm, tempi, structure, and changes in volume, it helps to recognize sounds by singing songs, for example, recognizing words and sentences. In addition, rhythmic structures stimulate the processing of language and text.

Children must learn to process audible cues and distinguish between sounds by listening to music. Listening to music even affects reading and vocabulary building. The authors indicate that listening to music is a good influence and that making music contributes even more to children's language development.

Music and brain development

Second, music contributes to brain development (Mark Mieras sketched extensively on this). Unfortunately, despite its importance and a better understanding of its value, less and less teaching time is devoted to it. A choice we should regret because, after all, music does so much good. American researchers even argue that the lack of music and music lessons at a younger age negatively impacts academic performance later in life.

In the past, people occasionally said that Mozart and Schubert would make children bright and so it would make sense to have them listen to this (some had their unborn children listen to this. (I have often joked myself that Mozart was good for intelligence.) But, unfortunately, no evidence exists for these or other composers, except that a short-term benefit can be observed immediately after listening to them hereafter.

Roel Arnold

A strong link between music and language processing is evident in the brain. The thalamus, a major brain nucleus, sends words and text to the brain's left hemisphere and spoken language to the right. We must stimulate the auditory system early to allow for incremental development and learning to listen. And the better it is trained, the better the thalamus functions. So music can also be seen as auditory training. Research shows that children who have had musical training can listen better than those who have not. In addition, this schooling makes us better at dealing with noise and better able to extract meaningful information despite the ambient noise. This author also discusses how music can help children with language difficulties and also explains how children with dyslexia listen differently. I once learned that composers had an above-average connection between the two hemispheres of the brain; now, it turns out that musical training contributes to integrating brain parts. This effect is even more substantial when a child learns to play a musical instrument.

The Atomium in Brussels is a metaphor.

Music has an enormously powerful effect on brain and child development. Better learning to listen, speak, read, learn vocabulary, and deal with emotions. Therefore, the need for daily music education should be obvious. As said, this is a significant motivation for MusikRoel to develop and offer all kinds of educational materials to contribute to the development of all children.

Could you use our help in setting up music lessons or want more with music in the classroom? Please feel free to email me for more information.

Last week I was in Brussels, which offers a cacophony of sounds and words. A city like many others, where you can spot many different languages, cultures, and very many sounds and signals. To walk through it unscathed, you must have already prepared your brain, preferably at a young age. Brussels is home to the Atomium, which also serves as a metaphor for brain development. The brain repeatedly makes new connections (and nodes) where experiences and knowledge come together.

Both articles clearly state music's importance, to which MusikRoel wants to contribute. Namely by developing school teaching materials and giving music and music lessons a place in the school year again.

Enjoy the music!

Leave a Reply