Music as a learning

We share this really interesting work by Mauritius Giordanelli entitled, “Music and the Brain”


Traditionally, education matters have nested by applying them to the workforce (Robinson, 2006). In Colombia, this has been done to promote “technical training to consolidate the domestic industry” (Bastidas, 2009). This often results in neglecting the artistic fields, including music (Restrepo, 2004). Recent research indicates that this is a mistake because of the strong correlation between formal training in music and academic excellence, a lower rate of substance abuse, a measurable increase in IQ students and the development of new neural connections the brain (Hallam, 2001, Altenmüller and Gruhn, 2002; Delisio, 2007, Hobson, 2009) This research leads to the conclusion that musical training is critical for our youth.


The research results are clear: musical training has a direct bearing on the overall performance of students in all areas. Recent investigations have yielded results that show a strong correlation between students formal musical training and the presence of several positive factors in their lives. These include improved academic performance, development of spatial reasoning skills, a lower rate of substance abuse, greater autonomy and discipline, reorganization of neural connections, increasing connections between the two hemispheres of the brain and brain plasticity, enhanced learning skills that would normally be made use of in other areas such as language and mathematics, better on tests that measure intelligence quotient (IQ or IQ for short) and increased retention, among others (Altenmüller and Gruhn, 2002; Asmus, 2005, Children’s Music Workshop, 2006by 2006d; Hallam, 2001; Hancock1996 quoted by Lake, 2002; Hobson, 2009; Hsu, 2009; Luehrsen quoted by Delisio, 2007; Henderson, 2007; Merrell, 2004; Olson, 1996; Georgetown University Medical Center, 2007). In this article are listed some of the benefits of musical training related to the intellectual, social and personal development of the students.


In ancient times, music was considered a fundamental part of training for young people. In the Pythagorean schools, music was part of the core subjects which students were trained. It was closely linked to the study of mathematics and science. In ancient Greece, the Pythagoreans were considered experts in the study of harmonic relationships, the musical proportions and mathematics (Crown, 2000; Guzman, 2000; Lockhart, 2007). Aristotle said that “music has the power to produce a certain effect on the moral character of the spirit and if you have the power to do this, it is clear that young people are heading to music and must be educated in it” ( cited by Henderson, 2007); this also raises this question: “What is music? There could be doubt among them, because music has all the qualities. “(quoted in Music education, S.F.). Meanwhile Plato regarded music “more powerful than any other tool for education” (quoted by Children’s Music Workshop, 2006a)

In ancient China, Confucius believed that one could not be educated without learning music and ranked it as the second largest among the six essential arts in which they should educate young people were “ceremonies, music, archery, driving cars, writing and mathematics “(Yue, 2008), organized from highest to lowest importance.

In the first centuries of the modern era, music has maintained its position as an essential area of ​​study in the training of young people. Boethius wrote in his book: Of institution music, (written around the year 520 Whitwell, SFB) that among all the liberal arts, only music that has influence on the moral development of people and can influence the listener’s brain changes. Whitwell offers: “There are four mathematical disciplines [arithmetic, music, geometry and astronomy], the other three share music with the work of seeking the truth. Music is not related only to speculation but also with morality”. It opens up teaching to the sense of hearing. So that when the rhythms and the modes reach the intellect through the ear, a certain affect will reshape the mind and character. “Boethius established the Quadrivium, a core of education that would serve as a guide for the training of young Europeans for centuries. Roger Bacon, centuries later, encouraged the proper understanding of grammar and logical development of musical training (Whitwell, SFA).

The importance of music in general education was recognized in the sixteenth century by the French philosopher Marin Mersenne. He was quoted in The instrumental art in the XVI century and early XVII (2010), and said that ” lutenistwill succeed in anything when playing his instrument. He will be able to represent the two geometric measurements, the doubling cube, the squaring of the circle, the proportion of the stars movement and speed of falling bodies.” Robert de Visée, a lutenist of the court of Louis XIV (the Sun King) said that his hands had “the same ability to play the guitar as the army was given the army orders to fight” (quoted in Segovia and Mendoza, 1979, p.50); the King hired him to teach his child. This demonstrates the importance of music education for the aristocracy of the time.

In the nineteenth century, mass public education systems which sought to meet the needs of the industrial world emerged. When designing these systems, a hierarchy of materials was established in which mathematics and science sat first. The humanities followed and finally the arts were organized. This means that the most useful subjects for work prioritized at the top. (Robinson, 2006). In Colombia the same system was implemented, favoring a “technical training for the consolidation of the domestic industry” (Bastidas, 2009) . This industry education system remains predominant in the world. This system is inadequate for the formation of the student’s mind. It leads to to neglecting student’s skills that do not necessarily promote the system (Robinson, 2006). Recent research has shown to be involved in other activities can provide several benefits to students, including enhancing their intellectual development..


“Music prepares the brain for higher forms of thinking.”

Robert Lake (2002, paragraph 1)

Numerous studies show that musical practice has a positive effect on the development of intellectual and social skills of students. It has been shown that music is essential to build character, it impacts moral development and it promotes the development of intellectual skills (Henderson, 2007; González, 2002; Children’s Music Workshop, 2006a, 2006b, 2006c y2006d; Yue, 2008; Lake , 2002). Musical practice reorganizes neural connections within the brain, it increases connections between the two hemispheres, helps with brain plasticity and enhances learning skills that would normally be isolated to other areas such as mathematics and language (Altenmüllery Gruhn, 2002 Children’s Music Work-shop, 2006b and 2006d; Hallam, 2001; Lake 2002). We can say that “we know that students who receive music lessons better learn the language than students who do not take music. Research also shows that secondary students who get the best results are music students “(quoted by Delisio Luehrsen, 2007, author’s translation) .The benefits of using music in the classroom are numerous and apply to all areas. It has been demonstrated that the use of music education helps students with low performance, that training in music enhances learning of the mother tongue. Additionally, it is an essential tool in learning a second language. Music education enhances the development of the ability to read and considerably improves the understanding of reading materials. It accelerates learning various mathematical skills and improves spatial reasoning of students. We’ve found a direct relationship between the study of music and Qua-res results in tests measuring IQ, besides being related to the development of social skills such as greater capacity for collaborative work, self-regulation, persistence, higher concentration, responsibility, memory enhancement, including (Altenmüllery Gruhn, 2002; Hallam, 2001; Henderson, 2007; Hsu, 2009; Lake, 2002; Merrell, 2004; Olson, 1996; Georgetown Medical Center Uni-sity 2007) .

In one study, two groups of students from preschool were observed. One group received piano lessons and sang in class every day. The other group did not perform these activities. After three months, the group of music students (three years old) earned top scores is 80% in tests of spatial intelligence and the ability to view the world properly (Hancock, 1996, quoted by Lake, 2002, translation the author).

It has been shown that certain musical practices help students improve their use of language. Studies on regions of the brain that process musical information shows that “the processing of music and the processing of language in effect depend on the same systems in the brain” and “two different aspects of both music and language depend on the same two memory systems in the brain “(Georgetown University Medical Center, 2007, author’s translation). We’ve also found that active music syntactic processing of language centers in the brain “(Patel, 2003, author’s translation). Significantly, “the first media of infants consists of a number of ranges of tones” as well as “the connection between words, feeling, tone, stress and emphasis is equivalent to musical expression” (Lake, 2002, translation author) We could say that “a sure way to accelerate learning in people is with music. People learn through music and their brains grow faster because of it … When applied music deformed constructive positive effects on children’s learning and aid in various forms “(Olson, 1996, translation by the author observed ). As explained above, when listening to music the same areas of the brain responsible for language comprehension (George-town University Medical Center, 2007) are activated; this is also true for the centers responsible for (Hsu, 2009 memory, Georgetown University Medical Center, 2007) and to areas of the brain that are activated in the development of certain mathematical calculations (Altenmüller and Gruhn, 2002; Kells, nd). In the case of learning a second language, it has been determined that the use of music is a powerful tool in the process (Hallam, 2001; Merrell, 2004). It has been suggested that observations in higher grades students involved in musical activities can not be related to musical activity as such; there have been studies to determine whether that is the case. It was found that indeed the students participating in musical activities outperform those that do not; to miss school to take lessons of instrument does not adversely affect academic performance and music students perform better on standardized tests, as well as in tests of mathematical aptitude and language. Specifically it has been found that participation in musical activities is responsible for the improved performance of students. This has been determined to offer music lessons to students who had no previous training and measuring their performance after a while, which was observed an improvement in their academic results, particularly in the areas of language and mathematics. The United States has even identified a positive relationship between the level of complexity of the repertoire of instrumental groups and the results of its members in state standardized tests like the SAT (Hodges and O’Connell, 2005). Needless to say, there are studies that found a direct correlation between academic performance and musical activity, but to compare these against the studies found that if such correlations researchers have postulated that it is necessary to take into account the type of musical activity and ENL as the circumstances that the observed positive effects (Hodges and O’Connell, 2005). What was found is significant because it indicates that for the reported benefits, it is necessary to choose the musical activities that are proposed to the student, analyzing in detail what was expected for those results to be achieved and considering the different cultural and personal variables that can facilitate the continued participation of the student in the activity, which could affect the development of the desired skills. Advances in the study of brain activity that offers modern medical technology through magnetic resonance imaging, measuring electrical activity in the brain, and computed tomography have allowed an analysis of the effects of music on the brain was previously impossible. These advances are those that have identified areas of the brain that process language, music and mathematics as mentioned above. With the information gained by this means it is possible to better understand how “active participation in music influences other aspects of development” (Hallam, 2001, author’s translation), corroborating centuries later the ideas of Pythagoras, Plato, Mersennesobre Boethius and the effects of music education on young people. When we learn about some new connections between brain neurons in a process known as synaptogenesis, we know these connections may become permanent when information is particularly significant. If a circuit is activated Abide often can become more efficient by the myelination process by which axons of the neurons are covered by a membrane that acts as an insulator (Hallam, 2001). It has been shown that participation in musical activities in the long term these circuits become permanent, the brain re-structure achieving greater connections between the two hemispheres and the different brain centers that are activated when we process the musical information, which, as discussed earlier, includes language processing centers, memory, and spatial reasoning, among others (Hallam, 2001; Altenmüller and Gruhn, 2002). It has been observed in the brains of people actively involved in musical activities and during these processes, synaptogenesis and myelination are at their most efficient time, implying that their learning processes are faster and their brains adapt to new learning faster than people who do not participate in musical activities (Altenmüller yGruhn, 2002) .This allows affirming, as does Mary Luerhsen, Executive Director of the International Foundation for Music Research who “could not find a transmitter of skills and knowledge more efficiently than a music program at school” (cited by Delisio, 2007, author’s translation). Some studies have postulated that a positive relationship between certain musical activities and the development of specific skills stimulates aspects of a student’s intellectual development (Altenmüller and Gruhn, 2002; Hallam, 2001; Henderson, 2007; Hodges and O’Connell, 2005; Hsu, 2009; Kells, sf, Lake, 2002; Merrell, 2004; Patel, 2003). One implication of these studies is that music should incorporate classroom lessons even in other subjects. Another important implication is that  music should emphasize those activities that have the greatest impact on the skills that one seeks to develop with their students; in order to enhance the processes of intellectual, personal, interpersonal and student learning

In the following link you can find the full text.