Bigger Better Brains is changing the way we advocate for music education.
Have you ever heard yourself say “why don’t people value what I do?”
Many music teachers tell us they don’t know how to effectively articulate the numerous benefits of music education for every student. Imagine you could talk confidently to a parent or school leader, have reliable research at your fingertips and be able to craft your message for powerful impact …This is what it means to educate to advocate!
Whether you are talking to parent, presenting to a board or writing program notes for your next concert, BBB has created the tools to help you.
Where it all began
Our idea all started when the TED Education video “How playing an instrument benefits your brain” written by BBB founder, Dr Anita Collins, was released in 2014. It literally went viral and is now one of the most watched TED Ed videos ever made.
Anita was both pleased and totally amazed. Amazed because she loves the field of neuromusical research, but to know that other people all over the world were interested too made her feel like there was a global community that she could tap into. Even more, that there was a global community who wanted to know more about neuromusical research.
Fast forward to one of my dear friends writing to the TEDxCanberra team to say, “I think Anita has an idea worth sharing”. That idea, after a lot of editing and refining was the vision of how our lives, societies and world could change if every child had access to music education from birth. It was at that point that Bigger Better Brains was born.
Anita knew she would quote a lot of research in her talk, but it isn’t the TEDTalk style to have citations running across a screen as you talk. So she needed a forum to share those links, in a way that validated what she was going to say in the TEDTalk. Anita chose the name Bigger Better Brains because it was what she used to scribble in the margins of the research papers as she read “musicians’ brains are bigger” and “musicians’ brains are better”. It’s also because it was the title of her PhD thesis.
What grew from this initial forum was an amazing and large community from all over the world. Musicians, music educators, parents, arts advocates, researchers and scientists are all active members of the BBB community. BBB was created to make access to the neuromusical research easier and to help people all over the world use the research to advocate for the work they do, support grant application and explain to a parent what is happening in their child’s brain.
BBB is about to get bigger and better and take on the work of educating people all over the world in neuromusical research so they can in turn go out and educate their own communities. It is a new kind of advocacy, our (yes BBB is now a team of people) mantra is Educate to Advocate. Like it or not we live in a world now where we need to provide evidence and justify the impact of everything our children experience. Neuromusical research provides that evidence but it is also very complex. Therefore, we need to be confident in our own understanding of it in order to use it to shift the mindsets and change the minds of our school leaders, parent bodies, school boards, policy makers and politicians.
Anita is an award-winning educator, researcher and writer in the field of brain development and music learning. She is internationally recognised for her unique work in translating the scientific research of neuroscientists and psychologists to the everyday parent, teacher and student.
Anita’s work first came to prominence when she wrote the script for the highly successful TEDEd video, How playing an instrument benefits your brain, followed by her TEDx Talk, What if every child had music education from birth? She is known for her role as on-screen expert for the Don’t Stop the Music documentary that aired on ABC in 2018 and was awarded the inaugural Australian Women in Music award for Music Education in 2019.