"Music Education and the Brain" Documentary

"How playing an instrument benefits your brain" TED Ed lesson

Helping teachers explain brain research

Inspired by a young teacher at a music educators conference, Anita commissioned a short film to be made to help music educators, parents and students understand the benefits of music education. The film includes interviews with a prominent  neuroscientists, innovative music educators and students. The basis for the film is Anita's research into the benefits of music education for academic performance, social skills and well-being, literacy and numeracy skills,  improved life outcomes and brain and physical health in later life.

The benefits of music education has been researched for decades. Most recently neuroscientists have been excited about the significant differences they have seen between the brain functions of musicians, when compared with non-musicians. It has become clear that music education before the age of 7 has the greatest benefits to brain development. Furthermore it has been found that it only takes, at the very lest, an hour a week of structured, formal music education to make permanent and positive changes to the brain functions of every child. This film has been made for music educators, parents, principals and policy makers to help get across the importance of music education in every child’s education.
— Anita Collins

Featured Interview

Paul Scott-Williams

Paul Scott-Williams

Professor Sarah Wilson

Professor Sarah Wilson

Production Team

Rosemary & Geoff Crane - Director/Producers

Rosemary & Geoff Crane - Director/Producers

Anita Collins - Producer

Featured Schools

Featured School - Macquarie Primary School

Featured School - Macquarie Primary School

Featured School - Canberra Grammar School

Featured School - Canberra Grammar School

Disseminating research in an approachable way

In 2014 Anita worked with the creative team at TED Ed lesson worth sharing to create a short film titled "How playing an instrument benefits your brain". This film bought together neuroscientific research into the benefits of music education on brain development in a way that allowed high school and college students to understand the changes that were happening in the brain every time they practised their instrument.

When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout.
— TED-Ed lesson worth sharing
Sharon Colman Graham - Director

Sharon Colman Graham - Director

Anita Collins - TED Ed Educator