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Implications of Neuromusical Research: Music is Natural. Music is Nurtured.

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Richard Edwards

on 16 October 2018

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Transcript of Implications of Neuromusical Research: Music is Natural. Music is Nurtured.

Implications of Neuroscience
in Music Education:
Music is Natural. Music is Nurtured.

Richard Edwards, Ph.D.
Ohio Wesleyan University
Music is Natural:
The Case for Universal and Ubiquitous Human Musicality

Some Inherent and Basic Musical Processes (that everyone seems to have)
The Morphology and Neural Substrates of Music
(isolated brain regions or neural networks associated with processing musical elements)
Three Modes of Musical Action:
What are the implications of neuromusical research for how we learn to be musical?
Humans have critical windows and optimal learning periods in the developmental stages leading to adulthood
...new musical skills can be learned at any age
Neuromusical Research validates many aspects of traditional music pedagogy...
...while challenging other aspects of traditional music education.
Music is Nurtured
Plasticity (Ragert et al., 2004; Pantev et al., 2003; Rauschecker, 2001)
Musical Memory
Some Neural Correlates of
Musical Processes

Morphological Changes In The Brain Due To Musical Training
Preferred music listening elicits emotional responses to reward and pleasure centers of the brain in musically and non-musically trained people (Blood & Zatorre, 2001; Koelsch et al., 2006)

Consistent emotional system responses to consonant and dissonant music among neonates (Perani et al., 2010). Infants and young children show preference for consonance over dissonance (Zentner & Kagan, 1996; Trainor et al., 2002).
Some suggesstions for the future...
Neat stuff, but how do I use this information to help myself or my students?

There are three very different ways for our brains to engage in music processes. Formthr most fulfilling and beneficial musical experiences, try to incorporate a balanced approach in the modes of musical action: Listening, Reproductive, and Productive.

Neuroscience insights for our K-12 students: "Just like the rest of your body, your brain is still growing." (Blackwell et al., 2007)
Even after reviewing a LOT of research...

What's the most important reason to be musical?

Resilient long-term musical memories, despite damage or dementia (Sacks, 2007)
Absolute Pitch: Acquired or Retained?
Absolute Tempo?
"Muscle memory" and motor functions
Motor cortex, sensorimotor areas (Wilson & Davey, 2002; Parson et al., 2005; Brown, Martinez, and Parsons, 2005)

Planning, judgment, creative decisions, working memory
Frontal lobe, pre-frontal lobe (Popescu, Otsuka, & Ionnides, 2004; Zatorre et al., 1998)

Emotional responses to music activate pleasure and reward areas of the brain
Orbitofrontal cortex and nucleus acumbens are activated during peak emotional responses to preferred music listening (Alfredson et al., 2004; Menon & Levitin, 2005; Khalfa et al., 2005)
Anticipation of preferred music listening activates the caudate nucleus (Salimpoor et al., 2011)
1. Listening

3. Productive
2. Reproductive
Pruning, Plasticity and Myelination

Singleness of concentration and the Whole-Part-Whole teaching approach: musical elements (e.g., rhythm, timbre, pitch) are processed in specific parts of the brain, yet holistic musical processes (e.g., performance, listening with full awareness) ellicit widespread activity throughout the brain.

Does music really make me smarter? Well, sort of...
Verbal memory (Ho et al., 2003)
Math skills (Vaughn, 2000)
Reading skills (Butzlaff, 2000)
Empathy (Rabinowitch, 2012)
Speech discrimination (Krause, 2011)
Listening, Reproductive, and Productive Musical Abilities In All Humans:
The Elements of Music

Timbre Identification
: Infants can recognize their mother's voice within hours of birth, (DeCasper & Fifer, 1980; Beauchemin et al., 2011) and musical timbres within the first week (O'Connell, 2003)

Rhythm pattern identification
in 6-12 month olds (Hannon & Trehub, 2005)

Pitch Discrimination
: Infants can detect small melodic pitch changes that even adults don't notice (Trainor & Trehub, 1992; Trehub et al., 1999)

Creative behavior
s (e.g., spontaneous song generation) are displayed in two to four year-olds (Campbell & Scott-Kassner, 2006; Siu-Lan Tan, 2010)

Inherent Musical Abilities at Birth:
Musical behaviors displayed by infants are due to inherent abilities rather than learned skills (Imberty, 2000; Trehub, 2000; Perani et al, 2011)

Universal Musical Abilities for Humans
: Responses to musical stimuli and musical activities among babies, children, and adults around the world suggest that basic musical processes may be universal to all humans (Trehub, S., 2000; Hodges, D. 2000; Zatorre, 2005; Perani et al, 2011,) and that infants experience music in a culture-general manner (Trehub et al., 1999).
Neural Efficiency (Meister et al., 2005; Haslinger, et al., 2004; Koeneke, et al., 2004; Jancke, Shah, & Peters, 2000)
Widespread Brain Activity (Altenmuller et al., 2002; Patel & Balaban, 2001; Mazziota, J. (1988)
Modeling musical behaviors via mirror neurons (Lahav, Saltzman, & Schlaug, 2007; Rizzolatti, 1996).
Audiation and musical imagery (Kraemer et al., 2005; Haslinger et al., 2005)
Emphasizing the quality of initial learning experiences via "instant plasticity" (Bangert & Altenmüller, 2003). Remember the "snap-snap-clap"?
How do we find the beat? (Grahn & McAuley, 2009)
The Legend of Tone Deafness? Or a lack of tonal nurture? (Ben Zander's TED Talk, 2008)

The difference between reproductive and productive musical performance (Limb, 2008)
A composite image combining the average neural development of the brains from many subjects (Illustration courtesy of Gogtay et al., 2004)
Audiomotor integrations (Bangert & Altenmuller, 2003; Haslinger et al., 2005; Brown, Martinez, & Parsons, 2006)
Language and Singing (Jeffries, Fritz, & Braun, 2003; Hebert et al., 2003; Callan et al., 2006; Schon, Gordon, & Besson, 2005)
1. Listening
Understanding heightened by the focused awareness, analysis, and appreciation of music.
3. Productive
Creating and performing original musical ideas
2. Reproductive
Performing musical ideas that were originally created by someone else.
Musical experiences change the structure and
functionality of the brain

Quick Brain Facts
3 pounds
Unfolded, cerebral cortex = 6 square feet
Approximately 100 billion neurons
40 Quadrillion (40,000,000,000,000,000) potential neural connections (synapses)
Your Brain in Action:

Neural network pathways are dedicated to each of the thousands of tasks your brain accomplishes everyday.

Repeated use of a neural network makes it larger, stronger, faster, and more efficient at transmitting electrochemical signals from neuron to neuron along synaptic pathways.

The more efficiently our brain uses its resources to do a task, the more effectively our brain accomplishes that task (quickly, accurately, or consistently).

Musical activities utilize more widespread areas of the brain than any other human activity that has been measured with imaging technology!
Pitch Discrimination
Right auditory cortex (Seung et al., 2005; Schneider et al., 2005)

Rhythm pattern discrimination and beat awareness
Left cerebral hemisphere (Schneider et al., 2005; Grahn & McAuley, 2009; Di Pietro et al., 2004)

Rhythmic movement
(e.g., foot tapping, dancing)
and fine-motor skills
Cerebellum, (Bengtsson, & Ullen, 2006; Brown, Martinez, and Parsons, 2006)

Meter discrimination
Right cerebral hemisphere (Liegeois-Chauvel et al. 1998, Penhune et al. 1999)
Some neuromusical substrates...
Some more neuromusical substrates...
While it is easier for new musical skills to be developed at a young age...

Spatial Intelligence (The Mozart Effect?) (Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky, 1993)
McMullen: Musical Acceptance-Rejection Model
(Berk, 2004; Johnson, 2001)

Similar brain structures for music
: No significant differences in musical brain morphology or markers for musical proficiency were detected in 5 year-olds before beginning in musical training (Norton et al., 2005).

Widespread neuromusical brain activity
: Neural activity associated with musical processes has been identified throughout the entire brain (Mazziota, 1988; Parsons & Fox, 1997; Platel et al., 1997; Parsons, 2000; Parsons, 2001; Satoh et al., 2003; Bunzeck et al., 2005; Parsons et al., 2005)
Inherent Morphology and Brain Structure
for Musical Processes
Emotional Expression
Aesthetic Enjoyment
Physical Response
Enforcing Conformity to
Social Norms
Validation of
Social Institutions & Religious Rituals
Communication & Symbolic Representation
Continuity and Stability of Culture
Facilitating Social Interaction
Merriam's Functions of Human Musicality
Music expresses our deepest emotions in ineffable ways
"Music for music's sake." That which we find beautiful in music is a purpose to be musical.
Music is a vehicle to entertain and amuse us.
Music can convey cognitive ideas
as well as feelings.
The elements of music can specifically
symbolize the elements of life.
Musical experiences can elicit a physical response via audiomotor neural networks in our brain.
Music guides cultures to develop awareness for
expected behaviors, mores, and memes.
Music can attribute positivity and validity to the institutions, organizations, and phenomena it is associated with.
Music is a means of passing on cultural values and heritage (ethnic or group identity). Music provides a productive, stabilizing force for challenging experiences.
Music encourages harmonious social behavior between groups and individuals.
The Origins of Music?
"auditory cheesecake"
- Pinker, 1997
Music conveys prosperity and creativity to potential mates. - Darwin, 1871
Musical speech sounds strengthen social bonds between parent & child ("motherese")
- Fernald & Simon, 1984
- Konner, 1987
Music facilitates cooperative
social groups
- Hagen & Bryant, 2003
Music may have been a precursor to language development
- Roederer, 1982
- Mithen, 2007
Music may elicit existential and spiritual validation to thrive or persevere
Why are neuroscientists so interested in musical processes?

Why would so many experts from multiple areas of research all endorse the idea that basic musical ability is universal to all humans?
Neuroscience (Sacks, 2007; Peretz; 2007)
Psychology (Gardner, 1999)
Archeology (Mithen, 2005)
Anthropology (Merriam, 1964)
Ethnomusicology (Blacking, 1973)
Music education (Hodges, 2005)
What is "basic musical ability"?
The purposes of this presentation:
Exploring "The Legend of Tone-Deafness" and the research supporting "A Gifted Minority" vs. "The Musical Many"
Summarizing the characteristics of brain activity during musical processes
Summarizing the implications of neuromusical research for music education and how humans learn to be musical
Plus, the ever popular question...
Does music make me smarter?

(i.e., does musical training affect non-musical tasks?)
The more we approach musicianship as a holistic experience based on all modes of musical action, the more enjoyable, fulfilling, and meaningful our musical experiences become.
Historical, cultural, and personal significance
Musical structure
Symbolism and referential meaning
Emotional response
Audiation and musical imagery
Imagined music is a similar brain process to performing music
Imitation, echo, and rote
Reading music notation
Following a conductor
Performing memorized music
Learning through observation utilizes the observer's mirror neuron system.
Adjusting and responding to the performance of others
Non-musically trained subjects elicit consistent expectancy violation brain responses to deviant musical stimuli.

In other words, even people who've never had a music lesson in their life can tell that a deceptive cadence is a surprise (musical semantics) or that the last note of a scale should sound like tonic (musical syntax).
Universal Awareness of Musical Syntax and Semantics
Limb & Braun (2008) identified that self-generated musical performance (i.e., productive musical actions like improvisation) are distinctly different than performing memorized or written music.

Although different than performing from memory or while reading music, improvisation brain activity appears to be very similar to other states of altered consciousness (e.g., REM sleep, meditation)

Improvisation tasks
brain regions associated with:
"Broad-based integrative functions"
Areas responsible for "combining multiple cognitive operations in the pursuit of higher behavior goals" (i.e., able to combine multiple thoughts and concepts efficiently).

Improvisation tasks de
brain regions associated with:
"Assessing whether behaviors conform to social demands"
Controlling inhibitions and "inappropriate or maladaptive performance"
"Conscious self-monitoring"
Check out Charles Limb's TED talk!
Emotional Responses to the music we like:
“If our brains were simple enough for us to understand them, we'd be so simple that we couldn't.”
- Ian Stewart (1995)
"Musicians appear to recruit more neural tissue or to use it more efficiently than do nonmusicians"
- Isabelle Peretz and Robert Zatorre
"one cheek playing"
Self-generated musical performance activates an entirely different neural network pattern than reproductive musical performance
Gabriella Montero improvises on a traditional tune (new to her) at a live concert in Koln, Germany.
When a middle school choir director uses modeling to demonstrate how to improve her students' singing technique, she is engaging their mirror neuron system.

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