Music Reinforcement

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        Previously, I mentioned the abstraction of tunes as a source of feedback for the learner.  There have been studies to prove the positive effects music-reinforcement has on learning.  “Music listening has functioned as reinforcement contingent upon proper social behavior, upon the number of correct math problems completed in a specific time period, and upon correct scale singing.  One finding revealed that sixth-grade black students in an elementary school preferred music listening to candy when given a non-contingent “payoff” although candy was slightly, but significantly, preferred when the “payoff” was contingent upon improved scale singing performance” (Madsen et al, 52).  Coupled with Schellenberg’s findings of the “Blur Effect” there’s good reason to believe that using music the learner is interested in can be used as reinforcement and still accomplish the same results as Madsen (et al.) implies.
          The power of music can be seen by the remarkable results of academic time spent learning math while listening to music.  “Investigation revealed that academic time could be cut in half with an increase in correct mathematic responses when music listening activities were used as reinforcement for correct responses. The other related study demonstrated that music subject matter could be effectively programmed via closed-circuit television to develop music listening skills for first-grade disadvantaged students” (Madsen et al, 52).  This gives strong implication that same results can be achieved by the use of touch-screen interactive technologies (i.e. mobile devices and iPads), which provide an added layer of interaction, agency, and engagement, creating a relationship between music, mathematics, and English being learned.In general, Dan Levitin, a PhD Neuroscientist at McGill University and a visiting professor at Stanford, mentions in his book, This is Your Brain on Music, “music is distributed throughout the brain” (9).  Through his research the activities that I am proposing in math and English can be considered one big brain activity, and this is a good way to view the activity.
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