The Effect of Music on the Nervous System

How does music affect our nervous system? What if children were involved in music all through their educational years? A lecture by Nina Kraus in 2011 entitled Music for the Development of Auditory Skills synthesizes scientific study in this area of neurology. Here’s the link:

It turns out that music is indeed a powerful vehicle to change neuronal function, and it continues to do so as long as we live. Musical experience not only enhances memory and attention, but it strengthens the brain mechanisms that underlie reading.

Musicians constantly relate sounds to meaning — for instance, harmonic relations such as major and minor chords, dynamics that signal mood, and tonality. To go a step further, music facilitates sound-to-meaning learning for non-musical tasks as well. Kraus gives the example of a father hearing his baby crying, distinguishing the type of cry and responding accordingly. So keep listening to music and playing music, and your non-musical tasks are enhanced as well. The educational implications of music are huge, from childhood through the rest of our lives!

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