Monday, March 20, 2017

Music and Learning Research

Young Children and Music 

Research on music and music therapy suggests that math and music are related in the brain from very early in life (Burack 2005). Musical elements such as steady beat, rhythm, melody, and tempo possess inherent mathematical principles such as spatial properties, sequencing, counting, patterning, and one-to-one correspondence. Music also seems to be related to very primal parts of the brain (Hudson 2011).  Read on......

  Our bodies can-not help but react physiologically to musical input (Thaut & Kenyon 2003; Hasan & Thaut 2004). This implies that even the youngest children have the potential to inherently respond to music and the mathematical con-structs it contains.Recent music neuroscience research indicates that steady beat does affect attention behaviors in humans. We typically process steady beat in the premotor cortex of the brain, an area also related to attention (Bengtsson et al. 2008). Zentner and Eerola (2010) found that 120 infants, ages 5–24 months, were more engaged with rhythm-only stimuli (for example, a steady drum beat) than with speech-only stimuli. The results of this study indicate that children have the potential to be more engaged when listening to steady beats than when listening to verbal-only instructions. Therefore, it is conceivable that listening to a steady beat pattern during mathematics teaching activities in the early childhood classroom could promote better attention and increased engagement in young children. Everyday learning experiences, such as listening to music, are especially important in supporting developing mathematics concepts in children from infancy to 5 years old (Linder, Powers-Costello, & Stegelin 2011). Music is made up of rhythmic patterns and can be structured to make the patterning simple or complex, depending on the activity. Zentner and Eerola (2010) suggest that infants and toddlers have an innate capability to not only see patterns but also hear them in music. Reinforcing these capabilities by teaching patterns through music at an early age may benefit children’s cognitive abilities (Bell et al. 2009; Meltzoff et al. 2009).Teaching patterns to very young children is also a key to the concept of emergent mathematics, which parallels the idea of emergent literacy. As with literacy, emergent mathematics suggests the following:
• Mathematical learning begins very early in life.
• Mathematics is related to many other developmental milestones.
• Mathematics develops from real-life situations in which the child is an active participant.

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