District speaker: Music’s effect on the brain and heart – February 5th

by beth on January 19, 2018

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Above: Dr. Kathleen Howland gave a TED talk in Spain on the healing power of music. In a few weeks, she’ll be coming to Southborough to talk to parents about the scientific impact of music. (image from YouTube)

The school district is bringing in another expert to talk to parents. This time, the focus is on the importance of music.

Kathleen M. Howland, Ph.D. is the final of three keynote presenters brought in by the Northborough and Southborough Public Schools this school year. She describes herself as a clinician, teacher and musician interested in bridging the worlds of neuroscience, music and wellness.

Howland will address “How​ ​Science​ ​Informs​ ​the​ ​Importance​ ​of​ ​Music​ ​Education”:

Neuroscience has found music to be a fascinating skill set to study. In fact, it’s one of the fastest growing areas in neuroscience research. In this talk, I will present information related to the innate and biological predispositions we have for music perception and production. We will explore how long we have been making music and what advantages that might have created in our evolution. We will look at cutting edge research related to music training and the myriad advantages of learning how to play an instrument or to sing. I will address the ways in which music is involved in the assessment and treatment of dyslexia, autism and stress. We will look beyond ‘music education for the talented’ and instead explore how science informs ‘music education for all’. The gains made in K-12 music education will be looked at across the lifespan and how it will lead to well aging, even if one does not continue to play. The results are astounding and I warmly invite you to join me in the marvels of it all.

The presentation is scheduled for Monday, February 5th, 6:30 pm at Trottier Middle School.

In other talks, Howland has spoken of Music’s ability to heal the brain and heart. (You can see her TED talk here.) Her website pitches her availability for lectures/workshops on topics including “Creating a healthy and meaningful relationship to music with children” for parents and teachers.

From the district’s announcement, here is more on Howland’s expertise:

Kathleen M. Howland, Ph.D. is both a speech-language pathologist (CCC-SLP), music therapist (MT-BC, NMT/F) and music education advocate. For over 35 years, she has worked with a variety of clinical populations across the lifespan using music to enhance speech, language, cognition and movement in habilitation and rehabilitation settings. She is committed to bridging the communities of science and art in order to identify best practices. She is intense, passionate and curious about the ways that music can transform brain form and function. She filmed a TEDx talk entitled ‘How Music Can Heal Our Brain and Heart’ that has been seen by over 60,000 viewers. She is the founder of Music Therapy Tales which collects clinical stories about the beauty and power of music in addressing a wide variety of diseases and disorders. She is a resident of Northborough and the Education Director for the annual Soular Jazz Festival held in our community.

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