Yes, music can evoke various feelings when we listen to it. But, what about if you can’t hear it? Imagine experiencing music without hearing music. Take a look at a performance by this group of deaf percussionists from Singapore. They hear the music through their whole bodies as they experience the beat!

ExtraOrdinary Horizons plays us a beat
This is exactly what researchers hoped to confirm in a recent study conducted at the International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research in Montreal – that even those with cochlear implants “…can enjoy a myriad of musical benefits if the composition significantly emphasizes the beat…”

Previously, many who used cochlear implants for profound hearing loss were given very little, if any, exposure to music or musical movement because the implants are deficient in transmitting the pitch and tone quality of music, and all that was heard through the implants was noise.

Fast forward to the study led by Dr. Jessica Phillips-Silver.  Dr. Phillips-Silver’s premise proved correct.  By using music that emphasizes a beat, cochlear implant users experienced improvement not just in music perception, but also in language perception.  In writing about the research results, Dr. Phillips-Silver’s team asserted that not only could language use and understanding be improved by exposure to the beat in music, but there could also be corresponding improvement in “emotional and social quality of life.”

iStock_000003815422X girl clapping good beginning“We know that music training engages some brain plasticity — it refines the sense of rhythm, benefiting the perception of speech, so that may help them understand spoken language. But also there is so much enjoyment in music — a strong beat activates the joy of body movement,” Phillips-Silver says. “What we hear is what we feel and what we feel is what we hear.”

All of this supports research findings from this study done in 2007 which found that “…[c]hild implant users enjoy music more than adult implant users. Moreover, younger age at implantation increases children’s engagement with music, which may enhance their progress in other auditory domains.”

These exciting research findings confirm yet again the incredible power of music to touch not just our emotions, but to profoundly affect nearly every other part of our being – music is good for our brains, our bodies, our hearts, and our souls.

Here at Kindermusik, we believe that all children can – and should! – experience music.  Contact your local Kindermusik educator to learn more.



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