Guitarist and professor Frank Gunderson recently discussed how playing music helps cognition.

Frank Gunderson, an FSU professor, is an esteemed and awarded teacher of musicology. He explains that playing music is far more than a hobby. It’s something that can change lives, including improving cognitive development.

Studies show that music education increases the IQ in children by about 7.5 points. Musical training is also related to higher scores in language and math testing. Gunderson recently discussed how musical training improves the brain’s functionality.

Why Music?

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Professor Frank Gunderson of FSU agrees that music is similar to language and is associated with the language regions of the brain. However, unlike language, music does not have direct meaning. The listener must decipher the story within the music. This helps develop active and critical listening skills.

Learning the language of music opens minds in imaginative and creative ways. Music also teaches flexibility and acceptance, as everyone interprets musical messages differently. Amazingly, music promotes imaginative collaboration and empathy. In addition to improving the brain’s functionality, music teaches positive character traits.

Music and Academics

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Studies show that musical instruction positively affects academic performance. Consistently playing music strengthens language acquisition, memory, mathematical learning, spatial learning, and problem-solving skills. The study of music directly correlates to superior high school grades and, ultimately, higher income.

Music and Emotional and Social Learning

Music and Emotional

“A world that teaches music education sees superior academic and social outcomes,” FSU teacher Frank Gunderson mentions.

The study of music isn’t only beneficial to the academic portions of the brain. It is just as constructive for success in relationships and managing emotions. Music aids in the moderation and expression of emotions during times of trouble or extreme stress. It also aids in regulating arousal and energy levels. This can be especially beneficial for young people learning to navigate peer-to-peer interaction.

Gunderson explained that playing music can ultimately lead to a more peaceful and understanding world.

Frank Gunderson and Music Education

Gunderson received his bachelor’s degree from Evergreen State College and a master’s degree in World Music from Wesleyan University. His Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology is also from Wesleyan. He previously instructed musicology at the University of Michigan and Ohio University.

Frank Gunderson of FSU shares the benefits of music with students across the United States and around the world. He previously taught for two years in a secondary school in Kenya. Gunderson’s teaching and research interests include African history, musical labor, music’s intersections with Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), and more. He has published more than 50 articles and reviews, sharing his vast knowledge of music and its importance to the world.

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