Music and intelligence: A parent's evidence-based guide

by Gwen Dewar Ph.D., Parenting Science

“Correlational studies have reported a number of advantages for musically-trained children, ranging from better verbal and mathematical skills to higher scores on tests of working memory, cognitive flexibility, and IQ…”

Musical Training Optimizes Brain Function

by Christopher Bergland, The Athlete’s Way, Psychology Today

“Musical training increases brain volume and strengthens communication between brain areas. Playing an instrument changes how the brain interprets and integrates a wide range of sensory information, especially for those who start before age 7.”

Music, Children and Brain Development

by Claudia M Gold M.D., Psychology Today

“This story led me to wonder how this piece of information might help us to understand James’ brain. For some reason he couldn’t process all the sensory information coming at him in a busy social scene. But with the help of classical music, it was as if the neurons, the cells of his brain, lined up and began to work properly.”

A couple of years ago, Marion decided to create ‘SymbolSmash’, a programme that allows primary school teachers to teach her method in the classroom.

She believes that there should be a permanent place for Classical Music Appreciation in todays’ homes and classrooms. Many question the relevance of classical music and perhaps consider it pretentious. Others fail to recognise the importance of music lessons in schools – understandable when test scores focus on Maths, Science and English. There are the academic subjects, and then there are the arts. But why should the two be separate?

When she began teaching 20 years ago, it became evident that, taught with an academic, cross-curricular approach, school music lessons help increase performance in all other subject areas, and so become a necessary part of the school curriculum. Making learning inspiring through accessible classical music for modern children helps with speech and language skills, concentration and coordination, instils an inner confidence and teaches children to listen on an intellectual level from the beginning.

Classical Appreciation classes are like a magic button for children with learning difficulties, and challenges such as Autism. Listening, learning and responding through music provide these children with a different platform for communication and expression. This builds connections between the child, teacher and parent, all learning to work as a team. Collaboration with other children through the lesson activities becomes enjoyable, and the musical context removes pressures of ‘conforming’ to certain behaviours.

It is time for all children from all backgrounds to be given the opportunity to love and learn through classical music. This is something Marion hopes to achieve through SymbolSmash.