by Guest Blogger: Liz Torres (Broadway Producer/Actor/Singer and Student of Grace Music Studio)
The story of your brain on music is the story of an exquisite orchestration of brain regions, involving both the oldest and newest parts of the human brain, and regions as far apart as the cerebellum in the back of the head and the frontal lobes just behind your eyes.
— Daniel J. Levitin,
This Is Your Brain On Music
It isn’t an optimistic attempt to promote music education anymore. Slowly but surely, it has become common knowledge: music aids learning. According to Angela Hampton, in her very informative article, A Cognitive Crescendo – How Music Affects the Brain, “musical involvement activates more areas of the brain than any other activity. The right brain is involved in the experiential aspects; the left brain is involved with the analytical, structural elements of music; the limbic system controls the emotional response to music.”
So, bring on the piano lessons, right?
Right! In fact, HeyKiki’s John Surico brought up a wonderful experiment done by the University of California on his latest guest post to our studio blog, “How Playing Piano Can Be Educational Too”! In this experiment, “A neurologists’ survey was done with 237 students in the 2nd grade. One group of students learned how to play piano while the other group learned software that taught mathematics. After the test was conducted, the kids that knew how to play the ivory or keyboard scored 27% higher on their math tests than the computer-attached students.”
So, how to get started… here at Grace Music Studios, a significant portion of out student base are children – and teaching children music theory can sometimes be tricky. – especially if they want to play they’re favorite songs after the first lesson! GMS founder and author of Music Theory: Grade 1, Julia Amisano, speaks about her experience on the matter:
“To my surprise, when I asked two of my young students (both aged 7) what they liked best about Music Theory Grade 1, they both had the same answer; the quizzes! When I further inquired as to why they liked the quizzes, one student said ‘because I get to feel like I win, if I get the answers right’. It occurred to me that this is what we all want. We want to learn slowly, but not so slowly we become bored, and we want opportunities to show off what we know. I said to my student “you said it kiddo”.
Which brings us to the conclusion of what communities like Heykiki and Grace Music Studios knew all along – we NEED music education. It plays an important part in cultural identity, development, confidence and social skills. I personally have been studying with Julia for over a year, and have noticed extreme growth in speed with regards to my ability to retain information and execute technique with my singing. I encourage parents to take the initiative and enroll their children in programs like Grace Music Studios or research websites like HeyKiki.com and take the leap. Hey, and it isn’t for children alone – start taking lessons yourself – your brain will be happy you did.
Grace Music Studios is a private voice, piano, drums, and acting school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York. GMS’s mission in music and singing is threefold: to empower the individual to discover their authentic selves, to build a local community that encourages that individual growth, and to influence and inspire those individuals to serve the greater community. For more of GMS resources, tips, events or to simply ask questions – you can visit us on our HeyKiki page or our Facebook page and/or follow us at @GraceMusicNY on twitter!