Archive for the ‘Music Makes You Smarter’ Category

The Incredible Health Benefits of Music

Readers Digest – BY LAUREN GELMAN

The right notes can dampen appetite, relax blood vessels, and improve brain focus. Read on.


Preschoolers who sang and played instruments as a group were a whopping 30 times more likely to help others in subsequent tasks that measured their helpfulness and problem-solving abilities, compared with a control group of kids who listened to a story, British researchers reported in 2013. The study focused on pre-school aged children playing well known children’s music as a group. As a whole, music appears to be more stimulating for their developing brains with effects lasting for decades.

Health Benefits of Music

Playing music makes you smarter


Teenagers undergoing cancer treatment who joined a music therapy program in the hospital showed improved coping skills and more resilience when compared to a control group of patients who received audio books. The patients, who were undergoing stem cell transplants, worked with music therapists to write song lyrics and produce videos. “Making music videos allows these patients to project their feelings through another outlet,” Shawna Grissom, director of child life at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, told Health Day. “It gives them a sense of control, a medium in which they can express themselves.”


The more years’ middle-aged and older adults spent playing musical instruments as children, the faster their brains responded to speech sounds during an experiment, according to a study in the Journal of Neuroscience.


According to an Ohio State University study, ICU patients who listened to their favorite music lowered their anxiety by about one third.  Not just any music, but familiar, comforting pieces.


When Hardees’s gave one of its restaurants a fine-dining makeover—including soft lighting and jazz—diners ate about 18 percent less and reported enjoying their food more, according to a Cornell study in the journal Psychological Reports.


Listening to their favorite music for 30 minutes a day improved blood vessel health in heart disease patients, Dutch researchers reported at the 2013 European Society of Cardiology Congress. Patients who listened to music while exercising experienced the greatest cardiovascular benefits.

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Music Can Boost Brain Function

Music and The Brain

As reported by Kimberly Hiss in this month’s issue of Reader’s Digest, a rich new area of science is analyzing which healthy habits best keep our mind and memory minimally affected by aging. A part of this up-to-date research shows how listening and playing music can boost our cognitive function.

Playing or listening to music can:

  • Activate the motor cortex by touching a piano key or guitar string
  • Activate the auditory cortex when hearing the notes you make
  • Activate the emotional center (limbic system) when feeling moved by a beautiful passage

“Circuits and networks are stimulated by these activities, which help keep the brain healthy,” says Dr. Kenneth S. Kosik, MD, co-director of the Neuroscience Research Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Additionally, older adults who had at least ten years of musical experience did better on cognitive tests, according to a 2011 Emory University study.

So what does this mean for all of us 40 and over? Get out that old guitar, tune-up the piano, and start pickin’ and grinnin’ !

Reader’s Digest, Sept. 2016

March is Music In Our Schools Month!


March is the time of year when music education becomes the focus of schools across the nation. It’s MUSIC  IN  OUR  SCHOOLS  MONTH !

Why Play Music?

  • It’s fun! Playing and learning music benefits people of all ages.
  • Infants recognize the melody of a song long before they understand the words
  • Research reveals strong connections between rhythm skills and pre-reading abilities in toddlers
  • Regardless of socioeconomic status or school district, students (3rd graders) who participate in high-quality music programs score higher on reading and spelling tests
  • Students in all regions with lower-quality instrumental programs scored higher in English and mathematics than students who had no music at all
  • Music education improves average SAT scores
  • In the past, secondary students who participated in a music group at school reported the lowest lifetime and current use of all substances (tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs)
  • Musicians are found to have superior working memory compared to non-musicians
  • Music stimulate parts of the brain, and studies have demonstrated that music enhances the memory of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients
  • Playing an instrument as a kid leads to a sharper mind in old age
  • Cognitive and neural benefits of musical experience continue throughout the lifespan, and counteract some of the negative effects of aging

Source: NAMM Foundation

Composers & Cake

Dr. Jerry Alan Bush, retired Professor of Music at the University of South Alabama, will present a free informal recital Thursday, April 23 at 7:00 PM in the Andy’s Music Recital Hall.

Please join us for Composers & Cake and listen to Dr. Bush perform and discuss pieces from Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Granados and Mussorgsky. Sweets will be available after the performance for your enjoyment.

For more information, please call 251-633-8944.


March is “Music in Our Schools” Month

Director Leslie Owens warms up the band for rehearsal.

Director Leslie Owens warms up the band for rehearsal.

March is Music in Our Schools Month, and all the local middle and high school bands are preparing for the Musical Performance Assessment, formally known as State Contest. The MPA is being held this year March 13-15, at Baker High School in Mobile.

The MPA adjudicators use six criteria to rate the bands performance: tone, intonation, technique, rhythm, balance and musicianship. Each criterion has four grades possible, from the lowest grade Fair (D), to the highest Superior (A).

Judges comments are constructive and deal with fundamental principles and practices. Sight reading is also done after the bands adjudicated performance.

Spanish Fort Middle School, directed by Leslie Owens, is preparing for this year’s MPA with their “Winter Camp”, which was held this past week. Invited guest clinicians were Dr. Byron Dawes, band director at Theodore High School, Renee Thomas, director from Daphne Middle School, Mark Foster, assistant director at Daphne High School, and Donald Morris, former trumpeter with the Mobile Symphony and master band instrument repairman at Andy’s Music.

Newly Discovered Ancient Musical Instruments

Newly Discovered Ancient Musical Instruments

Newly Discovered Ancient Musical Instruments

Heads up non-music makers, you may become extinct!

An article published in May by the Journal of Human Evolution, and reported in Life Science stated, “Early modern humans could have spent their evenings sitting around the fire, playing bone flutes and singing songs 40,000 years ago, newly discovered ancient musical instruments indicate. The bone flutes push back the date researchers think human creativity evolved.”

The document also stated that the, “flutes are the earliest record of technological and artistic innovations that are characteristic of the Aurignacian period. . . . these musical instruments indicate that these early humans were sharing songs and showing artistic creativity even earlier than previously thought.”

It concluded, “This site was inhabited by modern humans, . . .but it’s possible that Neanderthals were also in the area at the same time, though they haven’t been able find evidence of any cultural contact or interbreeding between the two groups in this part of Europe.”

Here’s the punch line.

The August issue of Music Trades Magazine quoted the article and added, “. . . some researchers have argued that music may have been one of a suite of behaviours displayed by our species that helped give them an edge over the Neanderthals, who went extinct in most parts of Europe 30,000 years ago.”

If you’re a “non-music maker”, there’s still hope. You don’t have to be like the Neanderthals and become extinct, just sign up for music lessons at Andy’s – and keep your gene pool intact!