There has been a lot of research done and published on the left brain, right brain and whole brain and how choral music affects the entire brain . . . especially a boy’s brain. It brings to light that the earlier he is exposed to music, especially choral music and singing, the better he is equipped to have higher brain functions in ALL aspects of his life – especially in his formative school years. The numerous studies are all in agreement . . . choral music makes a smarter [and happier] boy! He in turn, helps make a happier world!
I think choral directors have known and experienced this all along . . . there was just no ‘research’ to back up their thoughts!
Learning takes place when neurons are activated. The more activation, the greater the capacity for learning. Choral music activity engages millions of neurons as tempos, rhythms, notes, words and languages are encountered, as well as memorization skills. Since there is no ‘musical center’ in the brain . . . choral music activates more areas of the brain than any other activity.
The right brain is involved in experimental aspects, while the left brain is involved with the analytical structural elements of singing. The limbic system controls the emotional response to choral music.
Choral music is innate, that is; it is inborn and natural to sing . . . as much or more so than language is. And, singing actually strengthens the brain . . . even listening to choral music has a positive effect on the brain, though not nearly as great as with music making.
Listening to music stimulates the brain, increasing the neural connections. Participating in music [singing], enhances brain development and increases the brain’s efficiency. Because singing involves so many different areas of the brain, it’s capacity increases during singing as the synapses are strengthened and connections are built between neurons.
The cerebellum, long thought to control only motor skills, is also larger in size for singers. And, boys with training in singing exhibit much better verbal memory skills than boys without. It has been established that these skills are long term as well.
So, right brain, left brain or whole brain? For years, singing has been thought to be solely a right brain activity, implying that there is a specific area in the right hemisphere of the brain that processes music. The current research now clearly shows that active and regular participation in singing, more than ANY other activity, encourages the two hemispheres to work together effectively and efficiently. Clearly, music is a whole brain activity!
As I said earlier . . . I have always know this! Now, why don’t more boys sing . . . ? That is the real question in my brain!