In Sync

Music could hold the key to improving student engagement and learning.
Could listening to music before classroom tasks enhance the social and emotional bonds of students, enhance cognitive function and improve the overall health and wellbeing of our kids?

Music influences our thoughts, feelings and emotions, and it can also increase our ability to consolidate and store memories, learn new things and increase our social and emotional intelligence. When infant children are exposed to music with play, studies show their speech patterns, theory of mind and the ability to predict rhythms are enhanced.

Sharing music, making music and dancing with music makes us closer in physical proximity but it also means our brains are closer too. Science proves that the quality of music we listen to, sharing the listening experience and making music brings us closer together by syncing our brain waves, changing our chemistry and helping us work in unison.

Music And Dementia

In 2014 the film ‘Alive Inside’ chronicled the lives of Dementia patients in care homes that were given Ipods with their choice of music to listen to in an attempt to see whether music can help retrieve memories and stimulate communication.

The result was startling as Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett along with a team of  healthcare mavericks including Dan Cohen, founder of the Music and Mind Foundation watched patients previously locked in the minds, inert and silent suddenly light up and begin singing along to their music.

In the moments after listening to familiar songs the patients were able to retrieve memories long forgotten, sing songs and remember lyrics and communicate verbally after being completely silent and unmoved for years.

This documentary spearheaded research into how music activates areas of the brain associated with memory and emotion. Scientists know that music has the potential to increase working memory and in the case of dementia patients help in the retrieval of memories, the management of behavioural problems and can assist with coordination, verbal communication, cognition and overall wellbeing.

Alive Inside – Alzheimers Documentary
ALIVE INSIDE is a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music.
Dan Cohen, MSW, is the founding Executive Director of Music & Memory, Inc. He combines an extensive background in high tech training, corporate sales and software applications with social work, specialising in vocational rehabilitation and community service organising.


Two Minds Really Do Think Alike

Suzanne Dikker cognitive neuroscientist explores the interaction between art, concentration and mental synchronicity to understand our social connections and our behaviour.

Her projects include the use of EEG ( electroencephalogram ) to study the brains of high school students. She discovers that students who’s brain waves are in synch feel a greater sense of wellbeing in the classroom, perform better cogntively and show high classroom engagement.



cognitive neuroscience | art | ed

with David Poeppel, Dana Bevilacqua, Lu Wan, Mingzhou Ding, Lisa Kaggen, Ido Davidesco & Matthias Oostrik

We work with high schools to investigate the brain basis of classroom interactions. Students are involved in the design and execution of the research and participate as experimental subjects while we record their brain activity during their regular classes.


Four Ways Music Strengthens Social Bonds

Why would human evolution have given us music? New research says the answer may lie in our drive to connect.

 According to researchers, when we try to synch with others musically—keeping the beat or harmonizing, for example—we tend to feel positive social feelings towards those with whom we’re synchronizing, even if that person is not visible to us or not in the same room.


Synchronised brainwaves a sign of positive feelings

A classroom study finds that brainwave synchronisation is a reliable marker of interpersonal feelings and class engagement, writes Andrew Masterson.

Why would human evolution have given us music? New research says the answer may lie in our drive to connect.

In a report published in the journal Current Biology, Dikker and her colleagues establish that brain synchronisation between students is a reliable marker of how well they like each other, and how they feel about the lesson they are undertaking.


This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

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