At Birth, We Are Musical

At Birth, We Are Musical

The title of today’s post comes from an excellent talk given by Dr. Anita Collins at the 2014 TEDx in Canberra, Australia. She shares her vision on how she feels that music education deserves its proper place along side of other foundational skills like mathematics and language, and is provided to children at a very early age. It is not a simple accessory or add-on to educational curriculum, it is necessary as it helps to facilitate several other aspects of learning including memory, creativity, collaboration, and problem solving to name a few.

During her talk, Dr. Collins sites a study where newborn babies, only 1-3 days old, used music processing parts of their brain to hear their mothers’ voices – or as she put it, “..they were hearing music in their mothers’ voices.” Our musical minds help us to solidify the earliest connection we make, the one with our mother – an emotional sound that communicates love. One of the first things we all experience and it is a form of loving music – simply beautiful. It speaks volumes about why music becomes such a driving force behind so many things in our lives. Therefore, to Dr. Collins’ point, why not expand on this innate relationship that we have with music much earlier in life – so that we tune into the world more richly, and with a greater capacity to relate to it and to each other. Throughout her talk she shares many topics about how music education impacts nearly every part of human development for the better. She even points that many people who have a strong music education background do not often go on to become professional musicians, yet are very successful and take on highly creative jobs.

Toward the end of her talk she postulates, “…maybe we are missing an opportunity with music education that could change our world in ways we have no idea of.” I often wonder the same thing. What if we just give it a chance? There is something so magical, so impossible for us to sum up about music and it feels so essential to human nature that I believe, am nearly certain, it is the missing link to us finding space for each other on this planet. Seventeen minutes may seem a little long, but I couldn’t recommend Dr. Collins video more. Nearly all of us already agree that music enhances our day to day experience regardless of our music education, so why not see if it might even further change our world in ways we never knew possible. Life would at least be a bit more fun and have a great soundtrack.

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While looking more into Dr. Collins’ work, I discovered the Harmony Project based in Los Angeles. It looks to be a wonderful K-12 and college program that teaches kids music and inspires them to do amazing things with it. Learn more here:

Learn more about Dr. Anita Collins here:

What if every child had access to music education from birth? | Anita Collins | TEDxCanberra