Learning, Arts, and the Brain
According to a new report from the Dana Foundation, there may be a direct neurological link between early training in the performing arts and higher academic performance. In the report, Learning, Arts, and the Brain (146 pages, PDF), cognitive neuroscientists from seven universities present their findings from three years of research into the impact of arts training on the brain's other cognitive capacities. The research suggests that arts training causes mechanical and strategic changes in the brain that enhance skills in cognitive domains such as reading acquisition, sequence learning, geometrical representation, and working and long-term memories. According to one study, phonological awareness, a central predictor of early literacy, is correlated with both music training and the development of a specific brain pathway.