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16 | KNOW • Volume 12 Issue 4 other group participated in a group music class with singing and playing with drums and bells for forty minutes per week. The findings were complex, but overall determined that musical training “leads to structural brain changes that diverge from typical brain development,” specifically in motor skills and auditory functions. This sentiment is echoed by others outside of the traditional classroom. Barbara O’Brien, Director of Education at Arts for Learning at the Woodruff Arts Center, noted that students who have exposure to art and art education are provided a significant opportunity for self-expression, as well as the chance for a truly well-rounded education. Ms. O’Brien’s collective experiences teaching in traditional classrooms, as well as dance studios, are utilized throughout her work with Arts for Learning. A student of dance herself, she emphasized the importance of learning how to work collaboratively. She recalled a particular instance where her dance students experienced great challenges in putting on a production. The ability for each person on the show to rise to the occasion and work through challenges presented in the setup of the show provided important reallife lessons in perseverance and communication, as well as mastering the art in the performance. 5th grade, receive 45 minutes a week in an art classroom and Gargano is quick to emphasize the importance of the opportunity for the students. From his perspective, the students not only learn the basic motor skills within each project, but are also simultaneously gaining opportunities to be imaginative and discover a world outside of their communities. According to Mr. Gargano, art education also provides a chance for the kids to develop individual voices, and realize that they can express themselves through creating or studying art. Research also suggests that art education is beneficial for a young student’s overall brain development. A recent study through the National Center for Biotechnology Information explores how musical training affects cognitive development in children, and how the skills acquired throughout training may also lend to development in other academic areas (*source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/ PMC2996392/). The two primary groups studied were students who had no previous musical training, but the exposure to music education varied throughout the research period. One group received weekly, private keyboard lessons over a span of 15 months, while the p Arts for Learning teaching artist Karin Mervis works side by side with a classroom teacher as students create collages based on the book “Roberto Clemente” by Jonah Winter.


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