The famous Muzoki Music Academy now offers a full on 1 year Diploma course in Audio Technology (Sound Engineering NQF 4) from 2 April 2017. Right here in Pretoria East. Come and check out our stunning sound studio and stage area at our Pretoria campus @ the Glen Village Mall. Prices to suit your pocket. Call Kiki for a free cappuccino and a show around on 083 326 1965. First 20 students qualify for a big discount. T&C apply.
The Mechanics of Music
There isn’t a single music center of the brain, in large part because listening to even very simple music combines a bunch of distinct neurological processes. Let’s first look at the more strictly mechanical aspects of listening to music. As you might be able to guess from its name, the auditory cortex is an important part of processing the sound of music.
“Part of the temporal lobe, the auditory cortex takes in information from the ear and assesses the pitch and volume of the sound.”
Other parts of the brain deal with different aspects of music. Rhythm, for instance, is only connected in a relatively minor way to the auditory cortex. A lot goes into keeping even relatively simple, regular beats – tapping along to something as basic as a 1:2 rhythm brings in the left frontal cortex, left parietal cortex, and right cerebellum, and more unusual rhythms bring in still more areas of the cerebral cortex and cerebellum.
Tonality – the building of musical structure around a central chord – is another crucial part of musical understanding, and it reels in still more parts of the brain. The prefrontal cortex, cerebellum, and many parts of the temporal lobe all go into our ability to recognize the tone of a given piece of music. Taken all together, this means that music already brings in three out of four of the lobes of the human brain – frontal, parietal, and temporal, with only the visual processing occipital lobe unaffected…and there might be a bit more to say about that in a moment.
“Music is sometimes given a quick and dirty classification as a “right-brained” activity, meaning that the act of processing music is centered on the right hemisphere of the brain.”
While this fits nicely with the general dichotomy that the left side of the brain is more engaged in logic and the right in creativity, these are all pretty big oversimplifications. While it is broadly true that music involves more of the right hemisphere than the left, the fact is that the processing of music is so diffuse and decentralized throughout the brain that it’s hard to come up with any single category for all the different areas involved.
The Deeper Impact
Those, however, are just the basic mechanical aspects of listening to music. A good song can trigger a cascade of secondary responses, often involuntarily. An obvious example of this is the propensity to move in time with music – not so much dancing, which is an active, independent process, but simple motions like tapping one’s toe along with the song. This is caused by stimulation of neurons in the motor cortex.
Another intriguing side-effect of listening to music is the activation of the visual cortex, found in the back of the brain in the occipital lobe. Research indicates that some music can provoke a response in this part of the brain, as the engaged listener tries to conjure up appropriate imagery to match the changes and progression in the music.
“Part of the reason that music tends to be so meaningful to us is that it’s deeply intertwined with memory.”
Because the brain is so completely engaged in listening to music, it’s one of the parts of a situation that is remembered most clearly later on. Songs and pieces of music can serve as powerful triggers for memories – hence the cliche about couples and “their song.”
And let’s not forget the language aspect of music. Obviously, not all songs have lyrics, but those that do draw upon the language centers of the brain. The two main parts of the brain associated with language are Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area, the former of which is found in the temporal lobe while the latter is in the frontal lobe. Previous research has tended to indicate that Wernicke’s area is more crucial to language comprehension, while Broca’s area is more tied up in language production, though it now appears that there’s significant overlap. In any event, we can add them to the list of brain regions tied up in music comprehension.
The Subjective Sounds
So just why does music carry so much meaning for us? Because music draws on so many different parts of the brain, it’s hard to say with certainty, but that might actually help give us an answer. Music is extraordinarily complex even before it enters the brain – the pitch of music, for instance, has to be much more stable than frequencies we normally sound, or else it would just devolve into chaotic noise. The same is true of rhythm, tone, and other musical properties – these have to be highly complex to cohere into anything even vaguely musical in the first place.
And it’s not as though there’s any real objective measure of what counts as “musical” and what doesn’t. That shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone who’s ever read a music review, but it’s crucial to remember just how much the brain is involved as an active participant in shaping our interaction with music.
“Memory is one of the most obvious influences here – you’re more inclined to like a particular piece of music if it carries positive associations, for instance.”
It’s also possible that a person’s particular brain chemistry can affect his or her appreciation of music. Considering how many different parts of the brain are activated by listening to music, even one unusual link in that chain can drastically alter the person’s response. There’s also plenty of more everyday factors to consider – how much a person knows about music, whether they themselves play an instrument, whether the music has lyrics, and even whether it’s a recording or a live performance can all dramatically change the particular neural response to the same basic piece of music.
The Hardwired Responses
If there’s one constant in all this, it’s that songs carry a tremendous ability to provoke emotional responses – indeed, it can even seem that that’s our brain’s primary concern when it comes to music. Brain imaging studies have shown that “happy” music stimulates the reward centers of the brain, causing the production of the chemical dopamine. That’s the same chemical produced from eating great food, having sex, and taking drugs.
Even better, the brain hangs onto the ability to understand the emotional impact of music, even if the finer points of comprehension are lost. One study, for instance, focused on a woman with damage to her temporal lobe – and, by extension, her auditory cortex – that made it impossible for her to comprehend different melodies and other basic parts of musical structure. Even so, she was still able to read the basic emotional content of the music, respond appropriately to “happy” and “sad” music in turn.
This process seems to start early, too. Researchers at Brigham Young University found evidence that infants as young as five months are able to discern when a happy song is playing, and by nine months they’ve added comprehension of sad music to their repertoire. Interviewed in 2008, BYU music professor Susan Kenney explained what the babies were responding to:
“The happy songs were all in major keys with fairly short phrases or motives that repeated. The tempo and melodic rhythms were faster than any of the sad selections, and the melodies had a general upward direction. Four of the sad songs were in minor keys and all had a slower beat and long melodic rhythms. For an infant to notice those differences is fascinating.”
And the effects of such music only increases as we get older. (Considering the babies’ responses to the music involved turning their heads slightly, you’d sort of hope it would.) We actually can have physiological reactions to music – happy music with a fast tempo and major key can make us breathe faster, while sad music in a slow tempo and minor key can slow down our pulse and cause blood pressure to rise.
Of course, the roots of those reactions are found back in the brain. It’s just another indication of how powerful and multi-faceted our relationship with music really is, and how it’s able to change our brains in ways both obvious and so subtle that we can barely comprehend what’s happening.
Here is the looooong program for the evening.
It was once again a roaring success.
Participants were chosen to perform based on their improvement in their chosen subject.
The students performances were excellent. The vocal students from coaches Sam and Wanine and Kiki’s drummers need special mention for their top notch performances!
Our hall could barely accommodate the 80 odd people who attended. The excitement from the lively spectators surpassed even the abilities of the aircon!
The evening was catered and everyone enjoyed the finger food and drinks supplied. All in all, a great improvement on the first magic event which took place in May 2016.
Many thanks to all the coaches for their imputs, the parents and students for their diligence, friends for seeing to the lighting and sound (a great improvement) and grannies and grand dads for their spirited support.
All te participants received a beautiful certificate from Kiki and all the coaches received flowers and a good bottle of wine in appreciation of their efforts.
A video of the proceedings was produced and will be available to parents and for publication on social media shortly.
The next event is scheduled for April/ May next year and we will take place at one of Pretoria’s BarnYard theatres.
Attendance for next years show is anticipated to attract an audience of over 250 people with a performance program of double the number of participants.
Muzoki Music Academy is growing fast and opting from day one for large premises proved a wise decision.
Kiki is an extremely capable owner/manager and is well loved by the parents, coaches and students.
Her whatsapps on student appointment changes keep us all entertained and informed each and every day!
Muzoki’s systems are one of a kind and are working great. We might even consider a franchise option, as we receive many inquiries from more distant areas.
The Muzoki concept is quite unique and offers affordable performance based music and vocal training to students of all ages.
The youngest student is 4 years old and a good number of adult students are also enrolled at the academy.
Another in interesting fact is that the fall out rate of students is less then 4%, well below the rate of other schools, which proves that Muzoki is doing something right!
GO MUZOKI !!
Want to ‘train your brain’? Forget apps, learn a musical instrument
Musical training can have a dramatic impact on your brain’s structure, enhancing your memory, spatial reasoning and language skills
The multimillion dollar brain training industry is under attack. In October 2014, a group of over 100 eminent neuroscientists and psychologists wrote an open letter warning that “claims promoting brain games are frequently exaggerated and at times misleading”. Earlier this year, industry giant Lumosity was fined $2m, and ordered to refund thousands of customers who were duped by false claims that the company’s products improve general mental abilities and slow the progression of age-related decline in mental abilities. And a recent review examining studies purporting to show the benefits of such products found “little evidence … that training improves improves everyday cognitive performance”.
While brain training games and apps may not live up to their hype, it is well established that certain other activities and lifestyle choices can have neurological benefits that promote overall brain health and may help to keep the mind sharp as we get older. One of these is musical training. Research shows that learning to play a musical instrument is beneficial for children and adults alike, and may even be helpful to patients recovering from brain injuries.
“Music probably does something unique,” explains neuropsychologist Catherine Loveday of the University of Westminster. “It stimulates the brain in a very powerful way, because of our emotional connection with it.”
Playing a musical instrument is a rich and complex experience that involves integrating information from the senses of vision, hearing, and touch, as well as fine movements, and learning to do so can induce long-lasting changes in the brain. Professional musicians are highly skilled performers who spend years training, and they provide a natural laboratory in which neuroscientists can study how such changes – referred to as experience-dependent plasticity – occur across their lifespan.
Changes in brain structure
Early brain scanning studies revealed significant differences in brain structure between musicians and non-musicians of the same age. For example, the corpus callosum, a massive bundle of nerve fibres connecting the two sides of the brain, is significantly larger in musicians. The brain areas involved in movement, hearing, and visuo-spatial abilities also appear to be larger in professional keyboard players. And, the area devoted to processing touch sensations from the left hand is increased in violinists.
These studies compared data from different groups of people at one point in time. As such, they could not determine whether the observed differences were actually caused by musical training, or if existing anatomical differences predispose some to become musicians. But later, longitudinal studies that track people over time have shown that young children who do 14 months of musical training exhibit significant structural (pdf) and functional brain changes (pdf) compared to those who do not.
Together, these studies show that learning to play a musical instrument not only increases grey matter volume in various brain regions, but can also strengthen the long-range connections between them. Other research shows that musical training also enhances verbal memory, spatial reasoning, and literacy skills, such that professional musicians usually outperform non-musicians on these abilities.
Long-lasting benefits for musicians
Importantly, the brain scanning studies show that the extent of anatomical change in musicians’ brains is closely related to the age at which musical training began, and the intensity of training. Those who started training at the youngest age showed the largest changes when compared to non-musicians.
Even short periods of musical training in early childhood can have long-lasting benefits. In one 2013 study, for example, researchers recruited 44 older adults and divided them into three groups based on the level of formal musical training they had received as children. Participants in one group had received no training at all; those in the second had done a little training, defined as between one and three years of lessons; and those in the third had received moderate levels of training (four to 14 years).
The researchers played recordings of complex speech sounds to the participants, and used scalp electrodes to measure the timing of neural responses in a part of the auditory brainstem. As we age, the precision of this timing deteriorates, making it difficult to understand speech, especially in environments with a lot of background noise. Participants who had received moderate amounts of musical training exhibited the fastest neural responses, suggesting that even limited training in childhood can preserve sharp processing of speech sounds and increase resilience to age-related decline in hearing.
More recently, it has become clear that musical training facilitates the rehabilitation of patients recovering from stroke and other forms of brain damage, and some researchers now argue that it might also boost speech processing and learning in children with dyslexia and other language impairments. What’s more, the benefits of musical training seem to persist for many years, or even decades, and the picture that emerges from this all evidence is that learning to play a musical instrument in childhood protects the brain against the development of cognitive impairment and dementia.
Unlike commercial brain training products, which only improve performance on the skills involved, musical training has what psychologists refer to as transfer effects – in other words, learning to play a musical instrument seems to have a far broader effect on the brain and mental function, and improves other abilities that are seemingly unrelated.
“Music reaches parts of the brain that other things can’t,” says Loveday. “It’s a strong cognitive stimulus that grows the brain in a way that nothing else does, and the evidence that musical training enhances things like working memory and language is very robust.”
Learning to play a musical instrument, then, seems to be one of the most effective forms of brain training there is. Musical training can induce various structural and functional changes in the brain, depending on which instrument is being learned, and the intensity of the training regime. It’s an example of how dramatically life-long experience can alter the brain so that it becomes adapted to the idiosyncrasies of its owner’s lifestyle.
Studying Music Boosts Academic Achievement in High Schoolers
Early exposure to music increases the plasticity of brain helping to motivate the human brain’s capacity in such a way that it responds readily to learning, changing and growing. “UCLA professor James S. Catterall analyzed the academic achievement of 6,500 low-income students. He found that, by the time these students were in the 10th grade, 41.4% of those who had taken arts courses scored in the top half on standardized tests, contrasted with only 25% of those who had minimal arts experience. The arts students also were better readers and watched less television.” This goes to show that in the formative stages of life, kids who study music do much better in school.
Playing Guitar (and Other Instruments) Aids in Treating PTSD
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shared a study in which veterans experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) experienced relief by learning to play guitar. The organization responsible for providing guitars, Guitars For Vets “enhances the lives of ailing and injured military Veterans by providing them free guitars and music instruction.” Playing music for recovery from PTSD resembles traditional music therapy, in which patients are encouraged to make music as part of their healing process. Guitar is not the only instrument that can help PTSD. In fact, Operation We Are Here has an extensive list of Therapeutic Music Opportunities For Military Veterans.
Studying Music Boosts Brain Development in Young Children
Organized music lessons appear to benefit children’s IQ and academic performance–and the longer the instruction continues, the larger the effect, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Educational Psychology (Vol. 98, No. 2).
“There is dose-response association,” says Schellenberg, explaining that in general, the longer a child takes lessons, the higher the IQ and the better the performance in school.
In the recent work, Schellenberg and his fellow researchers studied two groups of students: children 6 to 11 years old and college freshmen.
The younger group received an IQ test, an evaluation of their school grades and a measure of academic achievement. More than half of the group had taken musical lessons, either in private or group instruction.
The older students surveyed in a second study received an IQ test and supplied their high school grade point average. They also described how many years of musical instruction they had received and how many years they had regularly played a musical instrument.
A research-based study undertaken at the University of Liverpool in the field of neuroscience has light to shed on the beneficial effects of early exposure to music. According to the findings, even half an hour of musical training is sufficient to increase the flow of blood in the brain’s left hemisphere, resulting in higher levels of early childhood development.
The Portland Chamber Orchestra shares, “Playing a musical instrument involves multiple components of the central (brain and spinal cord) and peripheral (nerves outside the brain and spinal cord) nervous systems. As a musician plays an instrument, motor systems in the brain control both gross and fine movements needed to produce sound. The sound is processed by auditory circuitry, which in turn can adjust signaling by the motor control centers. In addition, sensory information from the fingers, hands and arms is sent to the brain for processing. If the musician is reading music, visual information is sent to the brain for processing and interpreting commands for the motor centers. And of course, the brain processes emotional responses to the music as well!”
Musical Education Helps Children Improve Reading Skills
Journal Psychology of Music reports that “Children exposed to a multi-year program of musical tuition involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers.” In the initial stages of learning and development, music arouses auditory, emotional, cognitive and visual responses in a child. Music also aids a child’s kinesthetic development. According to the research-supported evidence, a song facilitates language learning far more effectively than speech.
Musical instruments, how you can benefit by playing one
The Chinese philosopher Confucius said long ago that” Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” Playing of a musical instrument has many benefits and can bring joy to you and everyone around you.
One of the many reasons why so many parents encourage their kids to learn playing musical instruments is because of the positive affects it can have on concentration. You may have a current concentration span equivalent of a goldfish, but learning to play musical instruments gives you a payoff when you can see the gradual improvement.
This is particularly true for players of music a instrument which involve reading from sheet music, one lapse and you’re out of the game. AS your technical skills improve, naturally so will your levels of concentration which has benefits in other areas of your life too.
Learning to play a musical instrument takes time and effort, which really teaches you patience and perseverance. Most people can’t play every piece of music perfectly the first time. In fact, the majority of musicians have to work difficult sections of music multiple times in a row they can play it correctly.
Playing musical instruments can soothe the mind, calm tempers and even lower blood pressure. Music also helps in creative problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork, and effective communication
Recent discoveries have led scientist to believe that both listening and playing musical instruments makes you smarter because these activities actually release more BDNF, CREB, and synapsin 1, all elements that strengthen mental capacities . So playing musical instruments produces brain-building compounds and neural growth factors that are making you smarter, stronger, and better at doing activities through the day
These are just a few of the benefits of learning to play musical instruments but, there are many more benefits that can help children and adults to improve their lives
Why taking guitar lessons is important?
There are so many beginner guitar enthusiasts that you will find today and due to it being that technology has just become an important thing to our world today, a number of guitar lessons tutorials can now be found online for free. But regardless if there are free materials and tutorials that one could get in touch with, chances will also be high that it will definitely be in one’s best interest to make sure that they will opt to have a teacher to teach them according to how one should learn the art of guitar lessons. The main reason why you really should consider taking up such guitar lessons from professionals is because there are so many benefits that you will then be entitled to.
HOW LONG WILL EACH GUITAR LESSON BE?
This can vary depending upon the student and the teacher. Most teachers offer 30 minute guitar lessons for beginning guitar students. Intermediate and advanced guitar students can expect to have 45-60 minute guitar lessons.
Music and math are highly intertwined. By understanding beat, rhythm, and scales, children are learning how to divide, create fractions, and recognize patterns. It seems that music wires a child’s brain to help him better understand other areas of math, says Lynn Kleiner, founder of Music Rhapsody in Redondo Beach, CA. As kids get older, they’ll start reciting songs, calling on their short-term memory and eventually their long-term memory. Using a mnemonic device to do this is a method that can later be applied to other memory skills, says Mary Larew, Suzuki violin teacher at the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, Connecticut. Musical instrument classes also introduce young children to basic physics. For instance, plucking the strings on a guitar or violin teaches children about harmonic and sympathetic vibrations. Even non-string instruments, such as drums and the vibraphone, give big kids the opportunity to explore these scientific principles.
Did Einstein secretly play guitar? A new Scottish study says if you play the guitar—or any musical instrument, for that matter—you’re more likely to have sharper brain function, which can help guard against mental decline in the future. Open a songbook and study up
Studying music theory will help you improvise and compose within harmonic frameworks that are fundamental to any genre of popular music. Music lessons will help you read and understand sheet music. By understanding concepts like scales, chords, counterpoint, melody, and musical form, you are more easily able to understand how the average person will respond to your guitar playing. Many people think of music as communication between performer and listener. If you accept this conception, then studying music lessons and theory will help you develop into a more intentional and effective communicator.
In studies given by Dr. Gordon Shaw and Dr. Frances Rauscher on “The Mozart Effect”, students who received piano lessons performed 34% higher on tests measuring spatial temporal ability. Studies show that music instruction enhances the brain functions needed for both mathematics and science. Children who take piano lessons also learn other valuable qualities such as concentration, coordination and confidence. The investment you make now can later turn into scholarship money later because of the higher SAT/ACT scores, saving you money in the long run.
Improve study habits: Students will be challenged to set goals and given the tools to evaluate progress and meet those goals on their own when taking piano lessons.
Hand-eye coordination: Involves visual, kinesthetic, and aural awareness. Eyes, ears, and body all work in sync. When a fighter pilot was asked what prepared him the most for his job, he attributed his hand-eye coordination and quick reflexes to the years of piano lessons he’d had in the past.
Fine Motor Skills: Piano students have spent much time developing the many small muscles in their hands and developing control over each part of each finger. Piano lessons look great on many resumes and applications, even to medical schools. If you think about it, would you rather have a surgeon operate on you who has had many years of piano lessons, thus developing the small muscles in their hands, or a surgeon who had taken no lessons at all?
Brain Power: Studies show that studying music strengthens right and left brain pathways, leading to higher special reasoning, concentration, memory and adaptability.
Self esteem: Music is easily shared with others, giving students a sense of achievement and confidence
As a parent, you undoubtedly realize the importance of preparing your children for the future. Since education is one of the key elements to future success, if you were shown a way to increase your child’s I.Q. right now, wouldn’t that be a step in the right direction? In recent studies, there is a profound link between music and intelligence.
Vocal lessons are important for many reasons and one of these reasons being that vocal lessons allows you to get to know your own voice. When you start knowing your own voice, it is easier to correct mistakes that you make. You start knowing where you need to correct your mistakes and where improvement needs to be made.
What Science Has to Say about vocal lessons?
Science and research done in the field of voice development and ways of speaking have over the years revealed that one is not stuck with the voice and the way of speaking that they have and that through the process of voice training one can develop a better and more effective way of speaking.
Most people have no idea how to properly use their voice. Your voice is truly a musical instrument, and learning how to use it properly and safely will give you a lifetime of enjoyment. Through vocal lessons, you can discover your range, and your instructor will help you maximize your talent and offer you instructions on how to keep your vocal chords in shape. But there are other advantages to taking voice lessons. Through voice lessons you’ll learn quite a bit about music theory, songwriting, composers and singing solo or with groups
We learn to do most things by imitating what we see or hear others do. However with singing, imitating can be a dangerous thing. Without truly understanding what happens when you use your voice, trying to replicate Christina’s runs or Alicia’s chesty high notes will cause you damage. So even if you are lucky enough to be happy with the sound of your voice, it’s still a good idea to go to someone who can help point out your bad habits, and give you tips that could help keep your voice in good shape for longer. Plus, you’d be surprised, your voice will become stronger, and you’ll be able to sing more easily and sound even better than you do now!
Muzoki opened its doors on 3 August this year and the school is enrolling students at the speed of light. Don’t miss out