Whitney's Music Studio

in Shallowater, Texas and Lubbock, Texas area

(806) 832-0531







Music Magic

Intelligence begins with the tiniest, instantaneous zzzaaapp. Think of neurons, the fundamental functional units of nervous tissue, and synapses, the points where electrical impulses connect them. In a newborn, a jungle of these reddish-gray neurons begin without paths, waiting for direction, waiting for connections to link them. Each smile registered in a baby's mind, each touch, each tone creates pathways that ultimately decide the fate of the tiny body that encompasses them. The more synapses, the better; the more precise firing by brain neurons, the better for the development of though processes and, it seems, things parents worry about, like school success or test scores.

Neurobiologists pinpointed the areas responsible for math and musical abilities, close together in the brain's cortex. Development in this area helps with complex functions like math or logic or out-of-the-box thinking. Interest in music and brain development sparked research beginning in the mid-1980s. Now findings point to the importance of the link.

In one study, children who received keyboard training were compared to their musically untrained peers (including computer-trained children). According to Frances Rauscher, Ph.D., and Gordon Shaw, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, after eight months of keyboard lessons, preschoolers showed a 46 percent boost in their spatial IQ, which is crucial for higher brain functions such as mathematics. Children, who received singing or computer lessons, or no lessons, did not improve significantly on spatial-recognition tasks. Young adults were also tested.

"Mozart's Piano Sonata was found to significantly increase spatial scores of college students on IQ tests when the Sonata was listened to….dubbed the Mozart Effect," concluded Rauscher and Shaw in 1993. The Mozart Effect, however, only lasts 10 minutes, so it's probably best to start tinkering with cortex circuitry when kids are still young.

While Rauscher's research indicates that music helps development in the right side of the brain, German researchers concluded that the left side benefits. The College Board states in the 1995 Profiles of SAT and achievement test takers that students with course work or experience in music performance scored 51 points higher on the verbal portion of the SAT and 39 points higher on the math portion.

Early Experiences

The discordant clicking of metal on metal is joyfully produced by the brute force of a 22-pound source of energy sitting on the kitchen floor. Chubby fingers of one hand clench the handle of a pot, and the other is tightly wound around a serving spoon. The mind-piercing clamor probably hurts their heads too, but fortunately a brain development overrides the pain. Sooner of later, all's quiet. Lingering smells of a baby's bath swim through hallways. Whispered lullabies soothe as a small head rests on a chest, counting breaths while being rocked to sleep. Neurons continue precision shooting. Hands clap to greet the morning, and crib springs bounce to the rhythm of a toddler's sunrise serenade.

More Neurons Making Paths

Researchers say the learning window associated with the logical brain, which includes math and music circuitry, is birth to four years. Experts warn that children should only take music lessons if they're really interested. Drums and strings can be taught as early as age three of four, but most wind instruments need the more mature respiratory tract of a 9 or 10 year old to be effective.

If a child is uninterested in the more structured approach, slip music into their lives in other ways - attend musical performances, turn on background music at home, keep tin whistles, kazoos and harmonicas handy, make instruments from recycled house-stuff on rainy days, let them drum and encourage them to sing or hear you drum and sing. Remember that pushing can backfire.

Reference: Unknown



"Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song." Psalms 95:2

"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music." Psalms 98:4