About

An adorable young boy grasps his oversized headphones with one hand as he smiles with joy while he plays piano.

MISSION

Music and the Brain brings a music literacy curriculum, whole-class keyboard instruction, and ongoing professional development to schools in under-resourced communities. We empower music educators and ensure equity for all learners, helping students build skills to succeed academically and in life. Music and the Brain is a program of non-profit Building for the Arts NY, Inc.

BENEFITS

MUSIC LITERACY

Music and the Brain students learn to read music notation from lesson one as they develop piano skills.  Recent neurological research is proving that studying music is deeply connected to language acquisition and literacy aptitude.  Independent research involving Music and the Brain students revealed increased vocabulary and verbal sequencing abilities.

FOCUS, ATTENTION, and FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Music and the Brain teachers overwhelmingly report that their students’ ability to focus and their attention skills are improved as well as their fine motor skills as they participate in lessons.  This impacts learning across subjects.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
Music and the Brain students develop critical life skills such as perseverance, determination and grit.  The structure of Music and the Brain gives students achievable benchmarks, allowing them to face challenges and celebrate their successes.

SCHOOL COMMUNITIES
Investing in music teachers is central to Music and the Brain, providing ongoing training and year-round support, a complete music curriculum, and a classroom keyboard lab.  Music and the Brain builds on the existing talent within the school’s personnel to get stronger results for more students during the school day.

SCALABLE MODEL

By building on the school’s existing staff and schedule, Music and the Brain is an incredibly cost-effective model for delivering cognitive and academic skills, particularly in students who most need the help.  Schools provide the teacher – Music and the Brain provides the system, the training and the tools, which can be used for years and years to come at a cost of less than $20/student.

A young girl concentrates on her sheet music as she practices piano independently.

OUR COMMUNITIES

  New York City


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West Side Montessori The Reece School


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Mott Haven Academy


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Philadelphia
Charles W. Henry School Cook Wissahickon Elementary Andrew Hamilton Elementary Penn Alexander Elementary Gilbert Spruance Elementary Bridesburg School Overbrook Educational Center Academy at Palumbo High School H.B. Hackett Elementary Roberto Clemente School Bache Martin School Chester A. Arthur School Girard Academic Music Program Gompers Elementary E.M. Stanton School Feltonville School C.C.A. Baldi Middle School George Washington High School Southwark School William M. Meredith Francis E. Williard Elementary Northeast High School Thurgood Marshall School Philadelphia High School for Girls Fox Chase School Nebinger School Overbrook Elementary Samuel Powell School Edwin Forrest School Caskey Torah Academy
Miami
Miami Springs Elementary Frances S. Tucker Elementary Earlington Heights Elementary Bonita Springs Charter Fulford Elementary Dr. Carlos Finlay Elementary North Miami Elementary South Miami Heights Elementary Perrine Academy Myrtle Grove Academy
Louisiana
New Orleans Bethune Elementary Arabi Elementary Davies Elementary Gauthier Elementary Smith Elementary Lacoste Elementary Arlene Meraux Elementary Encore Academy Sylvaine Williams College Prep Akili Academy of New Orleans Louise S. McGehee School Fifth Ward Elementary LaPlace East St. John Elementary Emily C. Watkins Elementary John L. Ory Communications Magnet School Lake Ponchartrain Elementary LaPlace Elementary West St. John Elementary Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy School
Ferguson, MO
Airport Elementary Central Elementary Combs Elementary Commons Lane Elementary Halls Ferry Elementary Johnson Wabash Elementary Lee Hamilton Elementary Parker Road Elementary Robinwood Elementary Walnut Grove Elementary Cool Valley Elementary Duchesne Elementary Holman Elementary Wedgewood Elementary Griffith Elementary Vogt Elementary Bermuda Elementary
New Jersey
Newark Sussex Avenue Renew School Harriet Tubman School B.R.I.C.K. Peshine School Spencer Miller School Rafael Hernandez School B.R.I.C.K. Avon School Lafayette School Quitman St. School Chancellor Avenue Elementary Moonachie Robert L. Craig Elementary
New York State
Long Island Theodore Roosevelt School Vernon School Briarcliff Elementary South Street School Tuttle Avenue School Mount Vernon Graham Elementary
California
Kings Beach Parent’s Co-Op Washington Elementary
Colorado
Manatou Springs Elementary Monarch Classical School of the Arts
Indiana
Butler Elementary School Riverdale Elementary School
Maryland
Calvert School/Skillful Sounds
Missouri
Hope Leadership Academy Monroe Elementary, St. Louis
Texas
Sam Rayburn Elementary, McAllen
Washington
Endeavor Intermediate School, Milton Toledo Elementary School
Kansas
Clearwater Elementary West
North Carolina
Shamrock Gardens Elementary, Charlotte

HISTORY

Inspired by a 1996 Newsweek cover story by Sharon Begley entitled “Your Child’s Brain,” Building for the Arts’ (formerly 42nd St. Development Corp.) founding President, Fred Papert envisioned Music and the Brain as a way to deliver many of the benefits of private piano instruction to the public school curriculum in underserved communities.  Lisha Lercari, a career music teacher was the founding Director of Music and the Brain. Music and the Brain provides classroom piano/keyboard labs to give music educators tools to introduce repertoire to full classes while incorporating singing, movement and music theory.  Music and the Brain lessons teach students to read and analyze the language of music through diverse repertoire which allows for cross-curricular instruction.   The curriculum and program introduces students to folk, classical, world, rock, pop and jazz music.  Music and the Brain provides the ideal and most complete experience for children: academic rigor, fun music, commitment to practice and the rewards of perseverance.