MEMBERS FORUM

A forum for our like-minded members to share information about early childhood, parenting, music, research findings.....

Research

Educate yourself and share research relating to music and the brain
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Newletters

Catch up on member newsletters and updates here such as discount codes for concerts and shop items
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Books

Share the books you love with our other members
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Music

Let's talk about Australian artists of any music genre that we love sharing with our kids
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Stories of BLMF

I want to share with you stories of neuromusical education at work. Please share with us stories of your own.
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  • Admin
    Aug 15

    In a small psychology study back in 2004 by Nakata and Trehub, babies as young as 6 months showed preference for singing over speech. This was the type of research I was reading to inform the creation of the Baby Love Music Fun program. The study played audio-visual samples of mother's singing and speaking to the babies. They were able to measure the babies 'fixation' by how long they gazed at the image and also by reduced movements showing their attention had been captured. I can tell you anecdotally I see this in class every day - especially when we do "opera time" When I talk to the parents about the activity the babies play, socialise and go about whatever their mission is. When we begin singing it's like rabbits in the spotlight. That's what I call it anyway. The babies heads turn and their movement stops and they listen -it really stops them in their tracks. Great - I think to myself we have your attention, now you will learn. That's when I ramp up the movement to the musical beat as well. I'm aiming to get the babies to move me me in-sync to the beat. It works and it is a true gift to be able to communicate with babies in this way. This is the type of research we love to use in our music program to teach parents how to do it too. Here's the findings of the research in a nice little graph and the citation of the research. Nakata, Takayuki & Trehub, Sandra. (2004). Infants’ responsiveness to maternal speech and singing. Infant Behavior and Development. 27. 455-464. 10.1016/j.infbeh.2004.03.002.
  • Admin
    Aug 8

    Today I asked my 13 year old daughter (for whom BLMF was created) if she had any memories of coming to BLMF music class. She began music classes with a large group of friends when she was just 4 months old and when she was a toddler she came to class with her Dad for a period of 2 years. This was when the BLMF program finished at the 3 year course...the preschool courses were written with daughter number 2. She enthusiastically answered YES! This was great news to me as at the Bigger Better Brains Educator course I recently completely I learned about 'pruning' and when it happens and why. Here's a definition I found which will help explain. In the period of 0-3 years there is an explosion of synapse formation between neurons during early brain development. This is called synaptogenesis. This rapid period of synaptogenesis plays a vital role in learning, memory formation, and adaptation early in life. At about 2 to 3 years of age, the number of synapses hits a peak level. But then shortly after this period of synaptic growth, the brain starts to remove synapses that it no longer needs. Once the brain forms a synapse, it can either be strengthened or weakened. This depends on how often the synapse is used. In other words, the process follows the “use it or lose it” principle: Synapses that are more active are strengthened, and synapses that are less active are weakened and ultimately pruned. The process of removing the irrelevant synapses during this time is referred to as synaptic pruning. (From https://www.healthline.com/health/synaptic-pruning ) So - I wanted to know if any pruning had taken place and wiped out all those lovely interactive moments she had with me, her Dad and all her friends. Her strongest memories were from when she was just 2 years old. Her favourite memory was our "Yippee" song where parents throw children in the air singing yippee at the end of class. This is a highly energetic, interactive and deliberately bonding activity between parent and child. I still love finishing classes with this energy and happiness and watching child and parent grinning at each other. Due to it's rhythmic beat this song also teaches beat in the body and prediction. Very happy to say her next memories were two of our opera songs. Our opera song from the Barber of Seville, "teddy bear hide and seek" - she remembers hiding teddies in the room and also remembered, "This Is My Happy Face"..to the tune of La Donne Mobile and the funny acting and faces I would pull during this song. I'm so happy that music class is one of the happy and probably useful memories that has survived the pruning process given it was so long ago for her now (10 years) She loves playing piano and singing now so I guess she is still using it..not losing it.
  • Admin
    Aug 7

    This story helps explain auditory processing and how music and reading are connected. Yesterday I tried a new activity with a preschool class of 4 year olds. I was using the tune, My Favourite Things from the Sound of Music to sing a new I Spy guessing game. I also use this tune in our 3 year old classes for puppet show and for our original musical version of the book, Noni the Pony. My Favourite Things is a famous music theatre tune, not just a simple children's tune like, "row row row your boat". The children starting to sing back their answers I noticed that two of the children in particular (both been with our program since just 6 months old) were able to sing back their answers also using the Favourite Things tune, without too much prompting from me. After I finished the activity I asked, did anyone know the tune we were singing our guessing game to? They thought and one proudly said, that's the Noni the Pony tune!! Yes!! I thought to myself, that is superior auditory processing at work thanks to attending weekly music classes with Baby Love Music Fun. How do I know this? What makes me so sure that I can claim this? Well - using the My Favourite Things tune to sing THAT book..is completely my own original concept. It doesn't come from anywhere else. I created it. So, for him to connect THAT tune with THAT book means it has to be directly related to singing that book with us at class or at home with his parents. Firstly, what was happening in his brain enable him to sing his answers back to me? and secondly, to recognise that tune as one he had heard before but now being sung with different words? First he had to access his brain recording of that tune (made during our classes and most likely repeated at home) and then he started singing the tune in order to check that sound matched his brain recording. For him, that tune is now a powerful mnemonic trigger for the story of Noni the Pony and he was able to make a match of his brain recording and the same tune now with different words. His superior auditory processing learnt through music class enabled him to make that match. What does this mean for his future learning? Why I am so excited about this? Well - music and reading are connected. See the info-graphic below that shows what's happening when we learn to read words and music. They both require the brain to match a symbol with a sound. When children can access a non-corrupted 'itunes library of sounds in their brain', they have the ability to make a sound, check the sound with the brain library and then either amend or reinforce the brain recording their brain is able to access this library quickly and make they will absolutely breeze through learning to read and learning another language. My predication for this boy - he will be an early reader who will be on average 1-2 year above his peers in reading right the way through his schooling.