What is Music and the Brain?

Music and the Brain is a 20+year, neuroscience-based program that builds fundamental cognitive, critical thinking, attention and fine motor skills in Pre-K to eighth grade students.  We enable public schools to provide classrooms of students with music literacy and piano keyboard instruction as part of the school day. Our program includes ongoing teacher training, multi-year music literacy curriculum, teacher validated classroom materials and manuals, diverse piano repertoire, original audio and video recordings in addition to keyboard lab equipment. Music and the Brain is a program of Building for the Arts.

Who teaches Music and the Brain?

Music and the Brain is taught by the participating school’s music teacher during the school day.  When a school qualifies to receive Music and the Brain as a grant, the music teacher receives training as well as periodic classroom visits and teaching support from Music and the Brain staff.  

How does Music and the Brain support teachers?

Along with providing comprehensive music literacy curriculum and keyboard labs, Music and the Brain delivers thorough training and yearly professional development workshops for our teachers. We are able to share best practices from hundreds of music teachers and schools across diverse communities, thereby empowering each new teacher using Music and the Brain.

How can I get Music and the Brain at my school?

Teachers and administrators can apply for the program here.  Parents who are interested in Music and the Brain should encourage principals, school arts coordinators, and music teachers at their child/children’s school to apply to our program.

How often do students receive Music and the Brain lessons?

Students in participating classes receive Music and the Brain lessons at least once a week during the entirety of the school year.  Ideally, students will have Music and the Brain classes twice weekly. To be considered for a Music and the Brain grant, Kindergarten classes must be scheduled a minimum of twice weekly. 

Where does Music and the Brain operate?

The cities where we have the strongest presence are New York City, Philadelphia, Newark, New Orleans, Ferguson (MO), and the Miami-Dade County public school district. A complete list of the schools we serve can be found here.

Can Music and the Brain supply schools with a music teacher?

We focus our support of schools and students on the cost of materials, training and equipment to teach the program effectively. Schools must already have or hire a qualified music teacher to implement Music and the Brain.

Is there a cost for Music and the Brain?

Music and the Brain gives full and partial grants to qualifying schools in areas that we serve. Please click here for more information about our qualification criteria. For schools outside of our grant giving parameters, inquiries can be made to acquire the program by emailing lisala@musicandthebrain.org

Can Music and the Brain be used with other music pedagogies?

Music and the Brain embraces many teaching methodologies. Teachers with varying levels of expertise in Kodaly, Dalcroze, Orff, and well as piano methods such as Bastien, Alfred, and others, have taught our program brilliantly. To implement Music and the Brain, teachers should be comfortable with working in a diatonic scale. Our approach to rhythmic training is rigorous yet achievable for young students and involves them reading rhythms right away.

Do I need to be a pianist to teach Music and the Brain?

The majority of our music teachers are not pianists, so there is no requirement for expertise in piano. Music teachers should be comfortable reading music to teach this program effectively. 

Is Music and the Brain available to middle or high schools?

Yes!  Music and the Brain is a multi-year scaffolded curriculum designed to grow with students as they progress in their music and piano skills.  Lesson pacing and activities will be different for older students and detailed in our training sessions.

Can students use the Music and the Brain piano books at home?

Piano books are granted to schools as a set for class use; however, participating teachers are able to distribute copies of Music and the Brain songs to send home with students.

Does Music and the Brain give grants to schools for other instruments?

The Music and the Brain curriculum is designed to teach music literacy through piano instruction. We are unable to provide other musical instruments for schools. Teachers may blend the program with other instruments (depending on their school’s resources).

Piano/keyboards were specifically selected for Music and the Brain for many reasons, including fine motor skill enhancement and practicality in the classroom setting.

Can Music and the Brain supply my school with keyboards without the curriculum?

Our primary goals include helping children develop cognitively by giving them a thoughtful, effective music curriculum, and to empower music teachers with the tools to execute highly productive lessons.  It is outside of our mission to supply instruments without our teacher validated curriculum.