I want to take a minute to explore the symbiotic relationship between music and education, just skimming the surface on its effects on neural pathways, memory retention, and overall well-being. Whether you’re a teacher wanting to pump up your back to school or a momma looking for a way to help her children- keep reading for some back-to-school musical tips!
- Music and Neural Pathways:
Music can directly affect concentration. According to Andrew E. Budson, MD (Harvard Medical School), “Music has been shown to activate some of the broadest and most diverse networks of the brain.” What Dr. Budson is saying is that music keeps your brain strong! As you learn new concepts, your brain creates more neural pathways- new roadways in your brain on which information travels. If these paths aren’t used, they weaken! That’s where music comes in! Listening to music, or actively participating in musical tasks activates both sides of your brain, helping you strengthen neural pathways you may or may not have used otherwise. Take a minute out of your day to sing a song as a class or do movement activities! (You can find some on the Sing First! Instagram page!) Keep that brain strong!
Memories and music go hand in hand, so music can be used as a study aid or a learning tool! Think for a minute about how you learned your ABC’s. Did you start to sing the song? Music has a relationship with our memories. We hear a certain song and then are transported back to some core memory important moment in our lives. Many times, we choose to attach a song to a memory- first dance at a wedding, graduation song, or even a girl’s weekend playlist. But there’s no denying there is a connection. How can this help with studying or learning? For our littles learners, we can put the lessons right in the song. Check out the example below to help introduce and have fun with vowel sounds! Teachers- if you have older students try this trick and see if it makes any difference: – play certain music while teaching certain lessons and then can replay that same music when your students are testing on each concept. A lot of what makes memories and music connected is still being discovered and is fascinating! Check out what one famous neurologist once said about music and memories:
“The past which is not recoverable in any other way is embedded, as if in amber, in the music. . . ” — Dr. Oliver Sacks (https://musicandmemory.org/)
3. Music and Your Well Being:
I think we all can agree how important mental health is not only for our students but for our teachers as well. Music can help! “Music provides calmness and relaxation. Music listening is strongly associated with stress reduction … as indicated by reduced cortisol levels, lowered heart rate, and decreases in mean arterial pressure” (de Witte et al., 2020- https://www.psychologytoday.com)
- Teachers: imagine what that can do for your classroom. The ideas are endless (and I promise to share more of mine one day) but for now try playing soothing classical music (like the example below) as your students are walking in each day and during their morning work. I’d love to know if it has any calming effect on your students. Or let me know how it makes you feel!
- Mommas- the hustle and bustle of the morning routine is tough! Try a few days of playing the music below and see if it helps you or children feel more at peace.
I am so passionate about how music affects our daily lives! This is just the beginning of my exploration, and I can’t wait to share more with you! So, whether you’re a teacher seeking to change your classroom atmosphere or a caring parent searching for ways to support your child’s academic journey, remember the power of music! Welcome the new academic year with the help of your favorite playlist and may the melodies of knowledge and passion lead you to higher heights. Here’s to a melodious and triumphant school year ahead!