"Music education is exercise for the brain" - Anita Collins, PhD in Neuroscience and Music Education

In the TEDx video below, Anita Collins shares how learning music influences brain development and why it is essential for children birth to 7 years of age.

She begins by saying, "What if there was one activity that could improve our cognitive function, help our memory systems to work, help us to learn language, help us to moderate our emotions, help us to solve complex problems, and help our brains to be healthier later in life?"

This one activity is music education and is most beneficial to undertake before the age of 7.

For her PhD study, Collins wanted to find out how music affected brain development. She found that musicians' brains looked different from non musicians' brains. Neuroscientists used FMRI machines to watch in real time how music affected different parts of the brain. They saw multiple parts of the brain light up at the same time and discovered that music education stimulates three parts of the brain simultaneously: Motor, Visual, and Auditory. Music also allows both hemispheres of the brain to work together. 

They found musicians have higher executive function, have higher memory systems, and are better at solving problems. With two decades of research, the neuroscientists found that music education raises general cognitive capacity and helps us to feel comfortable with learning.

In one study using infants 1 - 3 days old, it was discovered that the babies were using their music processing networks to understand their mother's language. They were literally hearing music in their mother's voices. At birth we need our music processing to understand language.

In another study, comparing musicians with non musicians, they found that those musicians that studied music before the age of 7, had an IQ of 7 1/2 points higher on average than non musicians. 

Neuroscientists have found that music education impacts everyone that takes it. We are all born with our brains wired for music. Music education can help bridge the gap for kids that are behind, possibly due to their environment. It can help children with ADHD, and other learning issues. Think about how our society might change if we can raise the cognitive capacity of an entire generation? 

Toddler making music with resonator bar

What if we invested now in a child's future? At Kindermusik of Cleveland, we think about the long term, rather than the short term. If it's proven that music will help a child's overall brain development, can we afford not to have our children involved in age appropriate music education?

How has music affected your child's growth and development? If your child is not involved in music, why not? You are invited to attend a Free Trial Class for your baby, toddler, preschooler or kindergartner and speak to other parents about how Kindermusik has positively affected their child's overall development.

For 19 years, I've seen the impact our music classes make on a child. This is the most important activity you can do with your child from birth to age 7. Now is the time for music.

Cathy Huser, Licensed Kindermusik Educator and Director of Kindermusik of Cleveland
Kindermusik of Cleveland is a Top 1% Kindermusik Studio Worldwide