Every time a boy or a girl walks through the door of the Musical Workshop, a music school run by professor Cristina Muscarsel in the neighborhood Sevillian from Nervión, he meets a new world. There are instruments hanging on the walls, a stage, keyboards and guitars and a multitude of colorful costumes. Almost like a game, students perform various activities that stimulate specific aspects that make a person musical: motor coordination, attention and auditive discrimination, melodic memory, tuning for singing, creativity and control of relaxation. “It is an activity that serves as the basis for the rest of the learning and not only for music,” explains his teacher, Cristina Muscarsel.
Children who learn to play a musical instrument increase their IQ by up to seven points, according to the National Geographic documentary My Musical Brain. In the same film, researcher Daniel Levitin studies the brain of superstar Sting. Explain that normally a non-musician uses the right hemisphere to process pitch and melody and the left hemisphere for lyrics. However, he discovers that when the artist composes, neural connections between the left and right hemispheres of your brain they intensify significantly. What does this mean? That the skills learned with music can help the brain to better interconnect and favor the development of multiple activities such as chess or mathematics.
And not only the competitions: “music is not so different from science”, affirms the neuroscientist Mariano Sigman. “He has a fabulous ability to bring us together and synchronize,” he adds. What’s more, physicist and neuroscientist Nazareth Castellanos explains at the conference Brain, music and dance that music involves the entire hierarchy of our brain and not only that but the whole body: from the heart to the feet.
Five activities for all your abilities
It is precisely this global approach that music therapist Muscarsel works with. With the method “Cristina Muscarsel Musical Workshop”Children from three years of age carry out in each class five types of activities, linked to each other, that help the child to maintain attention until the end: movement, relaxation, listening, rhythm and singing that make him live the music from various perspectives.
The first moment of class begins with the movement. The teacher says that during this activity the children get to know and control their own bodies better, use space creatively and develop their rhythmic sense. “Cristina’s gift for getting them to concentrate, lose their fear of performing in public and begin to value music away from strict music theory programs is admirable,” says Alicia Barranco, mother of two students from the Musical Workshop.
After releasing tensions, the children go to relaxation, where they calm down and learn to breathe. To develop the rhythmic sense, coordination and rhythmic memory, reproduce rhythms with the body, with the drums or with other instruments, one by one and in a group. Then it’s time for singing that, progressively, is having a greater degree of difficulty and makes it possible to improve the technique of each of the children.
From the age of seven, children begin to play simple songs by ear in several instruments. By learning them by ear, the child becomes able to discover melodies on his own and create his own songs. For Ana Margarida Were, mother of two students of the Musical Workshop, “it is an experience that they have for a lifetime, whether they dedicate themselves to music or not.”
The musical ear can develop
At this point, many parents wonder if their child is born with a special musical talent or if it can be learned over time. “The call ‘musical gift‘is composed of a series of skills that all children possess to varying degrees and that can be stimulated and developed”, Explains the music therapist Cristina Muscarsel. As he rhythmic sense, As the melodic ear and harmonic, the capacity of to sing in tune and the creativity they can be increased with proper work. But working from an early age is essential because, as the teacher explains, music is for the child’s brain like swimming: a complete exercise.
Several neuroscientific studies have shown that practicing music activates all areas of the brain, especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices. “Both listening and making music stimulate connections in a wide range of brain regions normally involved in emotion, reward, cognition, sensation and movement,” explains neurologist and neuroscientist Facundo Manes in a Article published in Materia. And it is the same feeling that Luis Villagarcía has, who has taken his two children to the Musical Workshop for ten years. “It is being fundamental for the musical-emotional training of our children,” he explains.
Each activity of the Musical Workshop guides the child towards a comprehensive learning that goes beyond the musical. It focuses on the first musical instrument we have at hand: our own body. “You don’t have to kill your love of music with technicalities,” Muscarsel says. And he concludes: “It is about starting at the beginning your musical education, opening doors for them to choose which ones to go through ”.