Research Updates

Here at Bigger Better Brains we believe that through educating yourself, you can then educate and affect positive change in your community.

With all of the research in the field of neuromusical science, our BBB Research section serves as a content hub for you. We regularly share findings and break down the latest research to educate and inspire discussion. We hope you enjoy this page on our website and share BBB news with your colleagues, parents and students.

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  • Research into music learning has found that, while it is a great activity for physical, cognitive, emotional and social development during childhood, it can be just as impactful to learn a musical instrument when we are adults. But what gets in our way? For anyone who has tried to do it – many, many things. […]

  • When we listen to music, we can experience many levels of engagement – from very intense emotions to no identifiable emotions at all. Researchers have looked very closely at this phenomenon to understand if it is certain characteristics of music that elicit an emotional response, if it is a totally individual experience, or if it […]

  • Ever wondered what that tingling sensation in your brain or on your scalp is called when you listen to music? We hadn’t wondered, but we feel better now that we know. It is called the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR). We probably won’t remember that long name or the acronym but “head orgasm” is a […]

  • Pitch pattern recognition is vital for both music comprehension and understanding the prosody of speech, which signals emotion and intent. But what happens when you can’t hear pitch patterns – do you enjoy music less and hear less emotion in speech? It is very hard to assess the enjoyment of music or speech, but it […]

  • One of BBB’s favourite researchers, Dr Patricia Izbicki, has done all the hard work for us and summarised the five great reasons why music learning is the childhood experience that just keeps on giving well into our later life. Here is her five reasons why your brain will thank you for learning music; 1. Music […]

  • “I succeeded as an entrepreneur not despite the fact that I had a music degree, but precisely because of it.” This statement came from Panos Panay, the founding managing director of the Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship at Berklee College of Music. Prior to his return, in a way, to the world of music, he had […]

  • To keep a beat, our brains have to get the auditory and motor cortices to first synchronise and then maintain that synchronisation as small things change in the music. To maintain a rhythm, our brains need to do all of that plus constantly monitor how the rhythm is fitting into the beat. It looks easy, […]

  • Audio-visual integration is the integration of things we hear with the things we see. Why would this be important? Well, have you ever watched a video where the sound and picture are out of sync? Imagine that happening inside your own brain. Concentrating would be hard, let alone learning anything if most of the world […]

  • Music learning is studied in two basic ways with children – as a tool to understand and enhance typical brain development and a tool to improve delayed brain development that has been impacted by environmental or medical factors. These latter factors could be living in challenging circumstances due to loss of hearing from an accident […]

  • If you were to look at a standard weekly timetable for a kindergarten class, you would hopefully see at least one music learning class. This might be a 40, 50 or 60-minute class which, for 20 x 5-year-olds, would require a great deal of detailed planning by the teacher to maintain quality learning and engagement […]

  • Would a pianist make a better surgeon? Isn’t this a fascinating question? In a recent article in the journal Music and Medicine, a team of researchers studied a group of pianists to see if the benefits of learning piano translated into benefits when learning complex and refined motor skills in another domain, specifically surgical skills. […]

  • Is it nature or nurture? Is it biological, magic or a quirk? One of the musical prodigies involved in the BRAMS study in Canada into the cognitive predispositions for musical genius explained the mixture that she believes contributed to her extraordinary musical ability. “Our success is like the three legs of a grand piano,” says […]

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