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Childhood Music Lessons Have Lasting Positive Effects

Check out this great article from parents.com about the positive effects of childhood music lessons!

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Music lessons have long been a favorite among parents who want their children to have exposure to the arts, and numerous studies have shown benefits ranging from auditory skills to better performance in mathematics.  But a new study adds a new benefit of early music lessons: advanced brain wave development that persists well beyond the end of the lessons themselves.  The New York Times has more:

Researchers at Northwestern University recorded the auditory brainstem responses of college students — that is to say, their electrical brain waves — in response to complex sounds. The group of students who reported musical training in childhood had more robust responses — their brains were better able to pick out essential elements, like pitch, in the complex sounds when they were tested. And this was true even if the lessons had ended years ago.

Indeed, scientists are puzzling out the connections between musical training in childhood and language-based learning — for instance, reading. Learning to play an instrument may confer some unexpected benefits, recent studies suggest.

We aren’t talking here about the “Mozart effect,” the claim that listening to classical music can improve people’s performance on tests. Instead, these are studies of the effects of active engagement and discipline. This kind of musical training improves the brain’s ability to discern the components of sound — the pitch, the timing and the timbre.

“To learn to read, you need to have good working memory, the ability to disambiguate speech sounds, make sound-to-meaning connections,” said Professor Nina Kraus, director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University. “Each one of these things really seems to be strengthened with active engagement in playing a musical instrument.”

Image: Child playing a recorder, via Shutterstock

Original article can be found at: http://www.parents.com/blogs/parents-news-now/2012/09/13/education/childhood-music-lessons-have-lasting-positive-effects/

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General Signs That Your Child May Need Occupational Therapy

  • Sensory issues: picky eater, unable to tolerate multiple textures, afraid of walking over obstacles, unable to sit for 1-3 minutes at a time, poor attention during play and functional tasks
  • Delayed fine motor skills: difficulty grasping food, crayons and/or play objects
  • Delayed visual motor skills: has trouble using their hands during everyday activities, unable to make lines on paper, trouble self feeding, unable to play with shape sorters or puzzles, etc.
  • Deficits in ADL skills: unable to participate in dressing, eating, grooming or age appropriate self care tasks
  • Poor upper body coordination, strength and/or endurance: floppy joints, low tone, or weakness that limits ability to engage in meaningful play tasks
  • Poor play skills: unable to play with age appropriate toys, limited in play activities, does not engage in joint play with others, poor social skills

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