Music Education

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Music education has been widely considered as dispensable for some time, making music programs the target of numerous budget cuts and possible complete removal from schools. Despite the large debate over the inclusion of music education in schools, research has found that musical training can improve various cognitive processes and skills, such as the development of language, reasoning, pattern recognition, and memory. Along with musical perception, musical cognition is actively constructed by the listener, as opposed to being passively transferred from the performer to the listener (Iyer, 159). This paper examines the relationship between music and perceptions, emotional responses, and cognitive processes.
In order to understand the relationship
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Functional MRI studies have shown that musical training increases brain responses in an auditory–motor synchronization network. In three magnetoencephalography (MEG) experiments by Keith B. Doelling and David Poeppel of New York University, nonmusicians and musicians with varying experience levels were played music at various tempos to map brain activity. The MEG records magnetic fields that are produced by naturally occurring electrical currents in the brain. The MEG readings from nonmusicians showed cortical entrainment tracked musical stimuli over a typical range of tempi, but the cortical entrainment did not track musical stimuli at tempi below 1 Hz. However, the data from musicians show that the cortical entrainment tracked musical stimuli at 0.7 Hz. While the data did demonstrate that cortical entrainment was enhanced with musical experience, it cannot be concluded that musical training specifically influences cortical entrainment as opposed to other cognitive training processes. For example, it is expected for harmonies to resolve in a specific manner. This can be demonstrated through chord progressions, especially in Western music of the eighteenth century. In his article, Emotion and Meaning in Music, Leonard B. Meyer gives the following chord progression as an example of the expectation of resolution (example 1). When listening to this harmonic sequence, it is expected that it ends with the tonic, C major. In the experiments by Doelling and Poeppel, they found that the brain activity of the participants were in sync with the music in the auditory cortex. This demonstrates the brain’s ability to recognize rhythmic patterns and the beat of the

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