We can see increased interest in the brain and brain-based education everywhere. Google turns up over one million hits on “brain-based education.” Nearly every education and music education conference offers sessions that teach ways to utilize new research on the brain. Places like MIT and Stanford increasingly sponsor workshops and courses where teachers pay big bucks to attend “learning and the brain” conferences. They believe this research is substantial enough to use in classrooms.
The number of new books on brain-based education is also startling. Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks and This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of Human Obsession by Daniel Levitin have both recently hit the best-seller list. However, thus far, conclusions are conflicting. Parents are asking educators about what technology to purchase in order to increase their child’s cognitive functions. In a Kaiser Family Foundation study conducted in 2004, more than half of the parents surveyed said that educational videos and toys are “very important to children’s intellectual development.”1 Is this a marketing ploy, or can this be verified through research?
Persellin, D. C. (2009). Brain-based education in music: A new science or science-fiction? Orff Echo, 41(3), 22-26.