Sound Beginnings - Promoting the beneficial effects of music in childhood
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Scientific Background:

Scientific background

The ‘Sound Beginnings’ project believes that music provides an extraordinarily comprehensive ‘map’ of the human condition – a map whose contours are laid down before birth and rendered perfect in the first few weeks and months of life. Learning to listen to this musical map is a unique way of comprehending ourselves and our children. The way, perhaps, that nature intended when she gave us all such extraordinary gifts.

There are many theories and research approaches. Including:

Human infants are ‘hard-wired’ to respond to music

Because human infants are completely dependent on their mothers for survival during the first months and even years of life, in order to ensure Mother/Child bonding we have evolved the ability to respond to and produce a wide range of emotive sounds. As a result we are effectively ‘hard-wired’ to be musical. Since the auditory system is established and functioning well before birth we may say that our species’ survival dictates that music has an especially important place in earliest human development.

Musical links with ‘healthy’ brain hormones

Oxytocin is probably the most significant health-promoting, naturally occurring brain hormone. Prof. Uvnas Moburg, the leading authority on oxytocin research, shows that breast feeding and touch are both powerfully oxytocin producing. She and her colleagues believe that further research is also likely to endorse the role of music in promoting this natural wellbeing. ‘Sound Beginnings’ is proud to be at the forefront of promoting such further research.

Music enhances alpha brain waves

Bulgarian educationalist Georgi Lozanov believed that classical music enhances alpha waves in the brain. (Alpha wave activity is associated with particularly pleasing and favourably receptive learning states.) Lozanov developed his very rigorous ‘Suggestopoedia’ teaching system in which the systematic use of songs and other music accelerates language learning.

Music and auditory response

French ENT specialist Dr Alfred Tomatis dedicated his life to researching how sound and music shapes the growing brain. He discovered and measured the way in which sound is conducted through both ear and bone conduction and used his research to create therapeutic sound - feedback systems. He also carefully crafted sonic programmes to ‘re-birth’ brain-damaged individuals and others with learning or behavioural difficulties.

Music raises IQ

Gordon Shaw and Francis Rauscher famously (and controversially) showed that listening to Mozart significantly raises spatial IQ – although only for about 15 minutes. While this interesting finding remains scientifically robust many researchers now debate the exact causation, pointing instead to issues of cross lateralization or brain processing to account for this so called ‘Mozart Effect’.

Music and physiological effect

Manfred Clynes (pianist, psychologist and artificial intelligence pioneer) showed that there is a ‘universal’ lexicon of human emotion which he calibrated by subtle measurement of muscular changes associated with specific emotional reactions. Clynes uses these ‘Centic’ measures to analyse and predict musical expressivity thus unlocking important.htmlects of our earliest emotional ‘hardwiring’.

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