This study looks at how our brains engaged with familiar and unfamiliar music. Turns out our brains sustains engagement with music that is unfamiliar. This is interesting from an educational perspective – we often here the question “should we keep students engaged through studying/playing/learning music they know?” or alternatively “different music is too challenging for students and we shouldn’t push them to study/play/learn music they don’t know”.
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There are good arguments either way but if we think of music and food for cognitive development, a variety of music (food) may be more impactful for brain engagement and therefore development. Something to think on next time you are choosing repertoire for your programs.
“A listener’s engagement decreases with repetition of music, but only for familiar music pieces. However, unfamiliar musical styles can sustain an audience’s interest, in particular for individuals with some musical training.”
Check out the article here