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Music plays the right notes in the brain: UC documentary

Music plays the right notes in the brain: UC doco

Claudia Doman

25 August 2014: Playing the piano, singing, or learning to read music on a regular basis boosts children's capacity to learn effectively, according to a documentary led by a University of Canberra education researcher which was launched today.

The documentary, which brings together the expertise of neuroscientists, musicians and educators, explores the critical link between music education and improving a child's literacy and numeracy learning ability.

University of Canberra assistant professor in music and arts education, Anita Collins, hopes the eight-minute-long documentary will become a useful tool for music teachers to help them educate parents, fellow teaching staff, principals and policy makers about the importance and benefits of music education.

Anita Collins

Dr Anita Collins at the launch of the UC-led documentary on the link between music education and the brain. Photo: Michelle McAulay.

"Research shows that one hour per week of music training, delivered by an expert, is enough to have an impact on children's learning processes over a period of time," Dr Collins said.

"Evidence shows that learning a musical instrument has an incredibly positive and lasting effect on that child's cognitive development, and that's what we want to share through this film."

The documentary, which will be freely available on Vimeo, was shown to a group of students from Macquarie Primary School, who then participated in a discussion about the connection between music education and learning.

The short film features interviews with one of Australia's leading neuroscientists University of Melbourne Professor Sarah Wilson, the director of the Goulburn Regional Conservatorium Paul Scott-Williams and University of Canberra's Dr Collins. It also includes children's musical performances.