A Message from Our Director
Music benefits the brain! It is exciting for us at Arts for Healing to witness the growing awareness of what we’ve already known for such a long time - that music has a definitive effect on cognitive development, memory, emotion and physical response. Scientists’ research findings strongly indicate music can add new neural connections, leading to better performance across all areas of literacy, verbal memory, mathematics and intelligence.
In fact, actively working with musical sounds enhances neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to adapt and change. "A musician's brain selectively enhances information-bearing elements in sound. In a beautiful interrelationship between sensory and cognitive processes, the nervous system makes associations between complex sounds and what they mean," Nina Kraus, lead author of the Nature paper and director of Northwestern's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, explained in a statement to the media. "The efficient sound-to-meaning connections are important not only for music, but for other aspects of communication."
In addition to musical training, listening to music has also been shown to have some remarkable beneficial effects on the body. For example, Tel Aviv University scientists found that premature infants exposed to thirty minutes of Mozart's music daily grew far more rapidly than premature babies who did not have the music, and researchers at the University of Florence in Italy documented that listening to classical, Celtic or Indian (raga) music once a day for four weeks significantly reduced the blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension.
Our programs at Arts For Healing reflect the positive impact music can bring to all individuals. Interactive music making in a nurturing environment, develops listening skills, encourages language development, cooperation and problem solving. Self expression becomes a natural part of making music, and social skills are enhanced by a growing self confidence.
AFH’s adaptive music lessons allow all individuals to learn an instrument. By integrating the therapeutic and learning processes through structured improvisation, children feel a freedom of expression and comfort level in learning that they cannot experience within more traditional methods. Adaptive lessons also take into account the importance of isolating the different sensory tracks, such as visual, auditory and physical processing, before they can be integrated. The information is then stored in a variety of ways, and it can be recalled in the way that is most accessible to each child’s own sensory system.
It is always exciting for us to see the realization of a person’s potential through music. Each step becomes a total experience for the individual, creating meaning within the simplest of tasks.
Karen Nisenson, M.M., M.A., MT-BC