School’s out for Summer! How to Use Music to Keep Brains Sharp Over Summer Break
Alice Cooper has set the stage and summer break has arrived. That means long days in bathing suits, drinking water from the hose, lemonade stands, and of course, music. Whether your children prefer a hot day at the beach or a calm afternoon in with friends, did you know that practicing a musical instrument, or even just listening to music, can promote strong cognitive development and sustain cognitive function—even when school is out?
Summer Setback—as it’s commonly referred to—can wreak havoc on students, teachers, and parents. Students often leave school in June, and return in September with sunburns, stories of vacation, and a mysterious inability to remember what they did a few months prior.
If you’re a parent of a school-aged student and want to make sure they’re prepared for fall, read on to learn about how you can support their brain function during those homework-free months.
Effects of Music on The Brain
Listening to classical music can improve concentration and other brain functions. The “Mozart Effect” experienced by infants listening to classical music improves overall cognitive development, and improves scores on simple cognitive tasks performed by preschoolers. Music has been shown to fend off dementias and is evidence-based for its healing effects; it’s considered a therapy and health profession.
Learning music isn’t like any other skill. The benefits of learning to play an instrument or read music can easily outweigh the effects of other cognitive activities and include:
- Improving speech learning and processing
- Improving divided attention
- Improving working memory
- Strengthening executive function (decision making, problem-solving, impulse control)
- Increasing blood flow to the brain
- Increasing overall confidence
Music, like language, has existed in every culture known to mankind. And like language, it has the ability to produce distinct effects. For example, what we perceive as “happy” music in our American culture might be perceived as “angry” music in another. The language of music, is not entirely universal.
But which genre of music we listen to is not as important as the way our brain works to comprehend the acoustic signals. The brain doesn’t have to work as hard when processing signals we’re already familiar with; most of us can sing the “ABCs” or “Happy Birthday To You” without thinking. They become rote over time, and not thinking begets more not thinking. Simply memorizing information does not mean that one has learned it.
The key to avoiding rote learning is to continuously trick the brain into growing. The concept of neuroplasticity tells us that when new stimuli are presented to the brain, the brain makes new pathways (or strengthens weaker ones) to makes sense of it. Stimulating the brain with frequent, novel, and dynamic signals, therefore, helps the brain to grow. Bigger brains equal more intelligence.
But I Want My Kids to Enjoy The Summer: Making The Most of Your Time
Your child doesn’t need to already know how to sing or play an instrument to benefit from the brain-boosting power of music. In fact, stimulating the brain with music can be quite organic. Enter Forbrain® Bone Conduction Headphones. These headphones help to create the perfect environment for cognitive growth and all you have to do is wear them. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it isn’t!
Using Forbrain headphones to improve your cognition over summer break is like doubling down on the time that you have. There’s never enough time to all the things you want to do, and yet the summer break is long enough for your child to lose one whole month’s worth of school year learning. Forbrain can help you fit it all in as easily and naturally as possible.
The dynamic filter used in Forbrain headphones helps ensure that our brain is constantly surprised by the music signals being received. This filter enhances specific frequencies of sound (whether it be music, background noise or your own voice!) just enough to surprise the brain and without overly-distorting the original stimulus.
Bone conduction transmits sound vibrations to the inner ear—and the brain—ten times quicker than our outer ear, which processes the sounds via air conduction. Bone conduction may sound invasive, but it’s actually quite natural. It’s a matter of sending the sound through vibrations of the bone behind your ear. It’s simply the way we hear our own voices when the vibrations are bouncing around in our heads.
These headphones are also equipped with a microphone to optimize the auditory feedback loop, which is the natural process by which we hear and adjust our own speech and voice. This process, which can be disrupted for various reasons, can be optimized by the use of Forbrain, leading to improved concentration, attention, verbal working memory, and short-term memory.
How to Use Music to Maintain Cognitive Function During Summer Break
Using Forbrain headphones with music is a great way to get a head start for fall. It’s portable, simple to use, and proven effective improving reading, writing, memory, concentration, and speech. It even improves confidence in speaking and singing situations. Don’t know where to start? Here are some suggestions of when to use them:
- Listening to music and memorizing lyrics
- Playing an instrument
- Singing* (children love to be “on stage” with Forbrain)
- Practice pitch accuracy and changes
- Practice enunciation of sounds for singing
*Singing music supports brain function with a particular emphasis on eliciting emotional states and decreasing stress. Diaphragmatic breathing, as we’re taught to use during singing, helps improve airflow and decreases blood pressure. Check out how one professional musician benefited from the use of Forbrain for singing, and read other testimonials from kids and parents here.
As you can see, helping your child maintain good cognitive function over summer break can be as easy as integrating a few brain-boosting musical activities into your schedule. In conjunction with the impressive effects of Forbrain headphones, there’s not much else you need. That is, of course, unless you’re headed to the beach. Then you’ll need sunscreen, swimsuits, towels, a cooler, sunglasses, hats . . .