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Non-Academic Health Benefits from Music Education (E4)

Have you ever wondered about the amazing connection between music and health? What are the non-academic health benefits from music education in your homeschool? Well, let me tell you a story about two incredible people who are leading the charge in exploring this fascinating relationship.

Non-Academic Health Benefits from Music Education

Renee Fleming and Dr. Francis Collins

Renee Fleming is a world-renowned opera singer known for her beautiful soprano voice. Despite her incredible talent, Renee has faced tough times dealing with somatic pain – that’s pain in the body that’s connected to the mind, specifically, it’s “the body’s way of distracting her from the mental anxiety brought from performance.” But instead of letting it get her down, she decided to dive deep into understanding why this was happening.

Renee discovered something incredible – scientists and doctors were studying music and its effects on the brain! One of those scientists is Dr. Francis Collins, a doctor who headed the National Institute of Health, the world’s largest supporter of biomedical research, for 12 years until 2021. He says, “I want to find every possible way to help people who are suffering from illnesses or other kinds of life experiences that are limiting their ability to flourish. I want to make everybody flourish, and music is such a powerful source of that kind of influence.” Together, Renee Fleming and Dr. Collins are champions for using music to improve health.

Music and Health Initiative

Recently, they talked about their Music and Health Initiative, which has been going strong for seven years. They believe that creative arts, like music, should be an integral part of healthcare. Imagine having music therapists in all hospitals, helping patients heal with the power of song!

Music’s Profound Impact on Our Brains

But it’s not just about singing for fun – although that’s important too! Scientists are finding that music has a profound impact on our brains. For example, did you know that parts of the brain responsible for processing sound actually grow larger in people who start musical training early in life?

Even more surprising is that when experienced singers like Renee think about singing, their brain is more active than when they actually sing! It just shows how deeply music is wired into our brains, and every part of our brains.

Singing Brings Amazing Health Benefits

One study found that singing with others in a choir can have amazing health benefits. People who sang together in a choir experienced less pain, felt more generous, and even had increased levels of oxytocin, a hormone associated with happiness and well-being.

One of the most surprising discoveries was that singing in a choir can help with postpartum depression. Who would have thought that something as simple as singing could have such a powerful effect on our mental health?

Other Research Showing How Music Therapy is Beneficial

Neuroscientists at Johns Hopkins have been studying music’s impact on dementia patients. Another hospital at the University of Florida has incorporated creative arts into its care of individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries. One example is former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords who is playing the French horn to help rewire her brain and rebuild her ability to speak!

How to Include These Benefits in Your Homeschool

How about adding singing to your homeschool? You can start by just singing together at home. I have several courses that can give you some guidance if you don’t know where to start.

Start Early!

One quote from the article said, “If you look at the brain of somebody who had intense musical training before age 7, you can actually see that part of the cortex is a little larger than in somebody who did not have that. So, our brains are responding to the environment very clearly in that way.”

This is something I have known from personal experience for a long time–not specifically that the cortex grows larger, but it’s obvious that early childhood music education makes a difference.

Find everything you need at Music in Our Homeschool. A great place to start with preschoolers is with KinderBach.

KinderBach Level 1 beginning piano and music theory for preschoolers

What other health benefits from music education have you found? Please leave a comment below!

YouTube Video “Non-Academic Health Benefits from Music Education” here:

Listen to the Podcast Episode here:

Listen here or subscribe and follow The Music in Our Homeschool Podcast through your favorite podcast app!

Find the transcript here.

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Non-Academic Health Benefits from Music Education

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