21 September 2013
Music and the Learning Experience Since the dawn of time, people have used music as a form of art and communication. While music not only amplifies emotions and sets the scene to many leisurely activities such as driving, music has also been proven to have beneficial effects in the learning process. Studies across the world at various universities and labs have shown the specific effects it has on basic memorization, as well as retaining the new. Through this paper, evidence through research will be presented to show forth the positive affect music holds in the education system. “In the 1960's, Dr. Georgi Lozanov and Evelyna Gateva researched ways to increase memory abilities including the use of music in the classroom. Their successes caught the attention of the world. Teaching techniques developed from their creative experiments and today we have a solid format for effective multisensory and whole brain learning called Accelerated Learning. This book does not describe the full philosophy or method designed by Lozanov. It will, however, draw upon the knowledge of music in Lozanov's method to share successful ways of using music for learning.
The use of background music during lectures, vocabulary decoding, or group readings is a cornerstone of Accelerated Learning techniques. Two methods for using music, designed to create very different but equally effective learning environments, were developed through Lozanov's methods. They are called concerts. The Active Concert activates the learning process mentally, physically and/or emotionally while the Passive Concert is geared to place the student in a relaxed alpha brain wave state and stabilize the student's mental, physical and emotional rhythms to increase information absorption. Both teaching methods result in high memory retention. Used together the two concerts provide a powerful learning experience.
Another component of Accelerated Learning techniques is the recognition that the learning setting and student comfort level with learning is of great importance to student success. Lozanov's methods included using music as students enter the classroom, leave the classroom and during break times to help establish a positive learning atmosphere.” Through the research of these two doctors, we have adopted the consensus that music in fact helps speed up the learning process. Another factor that music has is the general mood it sets in classrooms. Research has shown that playing background music is classes while students read and study increases attention levels, improves retention and memory, extends focused learning times, and expands thinking skills. “Scientists use the term neuroplasticity to describe the brain’s ability to adapt and change as a result of training and experience over the course of a person’s life. The studies covered in the Northwestern review offer a model of neuroplasticity, Kraus said. The research strongly suggests that the neural connections made during musical training also prime the brain for other aspects of human communication.
An active engagement with musical sounds not only enhances neuroplasticity, she said, but also enables the nervous system to provide the stable scaffolding of meaningful patterns so important to learning.
“The brain is unable to process all of the available sensory information from second to second, and thus must selectively enhance what is relevant,” Kraus said. Playing an instrument primes the brain to choose what is relevant in a complex process that may involve reading or remembering a score, timing issues and coordination with other musicians.
“A musician’s brain selectively enhances information-bearing elements in sound,” Kraus said. “In a beautiful interrelationship between sensory and cognitive processes, the nervous system makes associations between complex sounds and what they mean.” The efficient