Absolute Pitch: An Inside Look
When most people see a wavelength of light, they find no difficulty in associating it with a color. Yet hearing a frequency of sound and associating it with a musical note is a cognitive talent that fascinates scientists. This rare ability is referred to in the scientific literature as absolute pitch (AP) and it allows individuals to effortlessly, immediately and accurately label the pitches they hear with a musical note. AP has been a classic example of the “nature-nurture” dilemma since the extent to which genetic and environmental factors influence it is a matter of constant debate. Current research though, reveals AP as a paradigm of a complex genetic trait, studies of which provide vital insights into the interactions between heredity and nature.
Intensive musical training places emphasis on developing AP and though outside influences can improve one’s chances of this, they are not enough to guarantee it. There is a fixed window of time in early childhood, usually before the age of 6, known as the critical period during which individuals are most likely to acquire AP. This is in accordance with principles of neuroplasticity (Gervain et al., 2013). Nevertheless, even those who start musical training early often do not develop AP. Various interpretations of this exist. One is that learning cues specific to AP must be introduced during the critical period. Otherwise the brain shifts to the relative pitch (RP) system of music perception which
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This article reveals how Don Campbell, the author of “The Mozart Effect,” believes that listening to music can
* “when you speak with great educators, and look behind the test scores, the lessons learned in studying music, learning to play an instrument, playing in a band, learning to read music, all provide a richness to a child's education that will last a lifetime,” (par 1).
The video covered three main topics. The first topic was how the brain processes music. The brain recognizes a melody as a pattern. Pitch is determined by the number of sound vibrations per second, and the tone color of the instrument being used determines the amount of harmonics. If several instruments are playing, the brain picks out each by separating the pitch of the melody. The eardrum vibrates differently for low and high notes; also, the cells at the base of the cochlea register low notes and the cells farther up perceive high.
As mentioned in Nedra Floyd-Pautler’s “Playing music keeps your hearing sharp” published on April 2, 2012; due to the brains’ elasticity, instrumentalists and those with musical talent posses the ability to shape their brain to develop positive cognitive skills. In a recent study disclosed by Nina Kraus, PhD, and her team at Northwestern University’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, it was concluded that musical training optimizes the physiology and biology of the human brain. Musicians advance in a selection of advantages allowing them to better articulate speech, language, and emotion. Another being the capability to distinguish time changes in another’s pitch. The positive outcome of a musically trained brain demonstrates a rapid process
Music is an art, entertainment, pleasure, and medicine for the soul and body. Music is one of the few activities that involves using the whole brain. It is distinct to all cultures and has surprising benefits not only for learning language, improving memory and focusing attention, but also for physical coordination and development. My journey with the art has formed who I am today through the infinite possibilities that music offers any type of player. My solace and safe haven lie within a sheet of staff lines and spaces. Music begun and will continue to be my longest and most self taught course. This transcends more than just a combination of sounds and rhythms, it’s arguably deeper than life itself.
Millions of individuals around the globe regularly devote time to practice an instrument. The vast majority sees playing music as a form of entertainment. However, only a small number of these musicians are aware that musical training has effects on their brain. Recently, more and more researchers have begun to investigate further. Not only do their results conclude that musical training does, indeed, affect the brain, but they have also found that it strengthens it. Musical training benefits the brain physically, intellectually, socially, and emotionally.
However, after 4 years of musical training, researchers found significant changes in both test results and cranial development. This research paper focuses on the importance of prolonged musical training on a child’s musical development. In their longitudinal study, Schlaug et al. were able to find that as little as year of musical training showed a significant change in test scores between the two groups, data showed that an average of 4 years demonstrated actual, physical changes in one’s brain, such as an increase in grey matter volume and an increase in activation of the superior temporal
Neuroplasticity, as defined by Encyclopedia Britannica (2017) , is the “capacity of neurons and neural networks in the brain to change their connections and behaviour in response to new information, sensory stimulation, development, damage, or dysfunction.” One reason why this specific research is important is because music instruction can enhance brain functions. Breaking down the old notion that specific areas of the brain are responsible for specific assigned tasks has been replaced by the idea of neuroplasticity and the brains ability to adapt and change throughout life. The relevance of this science is one that would support the idea that music making enhances the growth and maturation of all types of cognitive functions. These functions include memory, learning, listening, and literacy. Again, success in beginning band will largely depend on the students’ ability to read and understand the music placed in front of them. But not just literacy alone; the student will be tasked with these other cognitive functions in their acquisition of musical skill and
All around the world, there are different types of people varying from height, characteristics, et cetera. However, there is also an impact on people’s brains from music. A person who plays an instrument is given many benefits like certain types of intelligences. From playing the piano to strumming a ukulele, musicians from all over are becoming smarter by using the brain’s functions to an advantage. There are certain effects from playing music that relate to a person’s personal life and from personality traits. These determine many key factors used daily such as communication and other skills to improve the brain’s intelligence. Playing a musical instrument affects brain perception, placements in education, and an individual’s abilities and connections throughout life.
Music is an ancient and universal practice regarded as a form of expression and emotional communication (Levitin & Tirovolas, 2009). It is therefore assumed a degree of musicianship is biologically guaranteed in humans; we are likely to either actively participate in the production of music or passively listen to it (Wilson, 1987). Music psychology aims to explain musical behaviour through the understanding of various cognitive processes including perception, performance and memory (Tan, Pfordresher & Harré, 2010). The increasing fascination with the relatively new branch of science has generated the question as to whether studying music psychology is useful. It is still very early in terms of its testing and impact to make broad statements, however, it does appear to provide therapeutic support for patients with various disorders (Wan, Rüber, Hohmann & Schlaug, 2010) and has had a considerable impact on musical memory (Ueda, Suzukamo, Sato & Izumi, 2013).
Although many, one positive way music education is beneficial to students is that it has a large impact on brain stem growth. With the incorporation of music in a student’s daily life, the brain stem’s responses become more robust (Brown). Therefore, the amount of brain stem growth correlates with recent musical training. As stated by Brown, an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore, “student’s that are involved with a large amount of music will see more gains in brain stem growth”. Furthermore, the neural changes that occur in students as adolescents stay with them into adulthood (“Music Matters”). This allows students to be more prepared once they go into the workforce as adults. Along with the brain stem’s responses being more robust, it’s sensitivity to sound increases (“The Benefits” 1). This is abundantly evident from early on, as mother’s sing to their infants to facilitate brain stimulation and development. Enrichment through music, starting at a young age, seems to improve individuals speech sound development and use of more advanced vocabulary. Adolescents’ language also improves with the use of music in a student’s academics (Miller 46). Luehrisen
Studies show students who are educated in and/or have taken music classes have better performance levels in school, especially in math and reading. Normally, music and art classes aren’t valued as much as core classes corresponding to mathematics, literature, or science. Art and music education prepares students with skills needed in the career field of their choice (Facts 1-3). Music is one of the world’s greatest economic imports, whether it be instruments or songs being bought on iTunes. Music training can improve people’s motor and reasoning skills. Children who have had over three or more years of musical instrument lessons performed better than those who have not in their abilities to determine differences in sounds and in their fine motor skills. The value of music education in children has been studied for decades. Because the early ages of development within a child’s life are the most important, music education has been proven to enhance a child’s learning ability. Music has a positive influence on behavior, proves better performance in academics and education, and helps with child development.
Moreover, the “effects of music instruction on cognitive abilities” is critical for the future, which “deserve further consideration.” (2 Rausher)
Music tends to have a positive effect on the transfer of learning. For example , learning to play an instrument enhances the ability to remember words through enlargement of the left cranial temporal regions of the brain. A study brought up by the Institute of Education at the University of London shows that musically trained participants remembered 17 percent more verbal information then those without musical training (Hallam 2012). Extensive active engagement with music induces cortical reorganization producing functional changes in how the brain handles information. When this is an occurrence in an early stage of development , usually in children and young adults, it may produce permanent changes in the way information is being processed into the brain. These changes display what exactly has been learned and how it has been learned. According to the article, "Transfer of cognitive learning from one domain to another depends on the similarities between the processes involved, transfer can be near and far and it is stronger and more likely to occur if its near"(Hallam 2012). To continue with this aim, Salamon