Dr Anita Collins is an award-winning educator, researcher and writer in the field of brain development and music learning. She is internationally recognized for her unique work in translating the scientific research of neuroscientists and psychologists to the everyday parent, teacher and student. Over the last two years Anita has interviewed close to 100 researchers in labs across the US, Canada, Europe and Australia so she can share the most up to date research with educators. Increasingly Anita is being invited to provide expert opinion on education, creativity, strategic direction and innovation. Anita is founder of Bigger Better Brains, an education program for the global music education community about the application of neuromusical research.
Anita presents regularly on radio and television and in 2018 has taken up the role of onscreen expert and campaigner for the three-part ABC documentary Don’t Stop the Music. This documentary and campaign will focus national attention on the benefits of music education for all children in November. Anita is currently expert education advisor for the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian Independent School Association, BrandAnonymous Productions in the UK, Artemis Productions in Australia, Music Education Research Counsellor for Music Australia, a Founding Director of the Rewire Foundation and Associate Fellow of Music, Mind and Wellbeing at the University of Melbourne.
Anita is a prolific and eclectic writer, penning the “The Lullaby Effect”, opinion columns for The Age and The Conversation, authored papers for international peer-reviewed journals, guest author on international sites and specialist technical writer for OECD Education Framework 2030. Anita is the author of one of the most watched TED Education films ever made. She is a Churchill Fellow, a TEDx speaker and will soon release a book for expectant and new parents called The Lullaby Effect.
Anita brings a wealth of experience as an active educator to every presentation. She is an experienced classroom teacher and conductor (Canberra Grammar School) across the breadth of beginner to advanced musical performers. Anita has been musical director for three award winning productions and she has over a decade of experience as a teacher educator across all areas of tertiary education (University of Canberra and the Australian National University). Anita is also a creator, commissioning and conducting the world premiere of the The Goulburn Concerto by Sean O’Boyle, a work specifically written to bring professional musicians and disadvantaged children together as equal partners in performance.
Masterclass (Group B)
Fireworks in the Musical Brain – Why does Music Learning Wire the Brain so Effectively for Learning?
Neuroscience and psychology researchers have done extensive studies over the last 20 years to understand how the brain processes music and why music learning seems to be such a cognitively unique activity. Musically trained children have better language and communication skills, can focus for longer and are more likely to stick with difficult problems until they solve them, they are able to control their own emotional responses and understand emotional responses of others and they have significantly better working and long-term memory systems. This process begins at birth and effectively wires the brain for effective development from the very beginning of life.
Wiring the Brain for Learning – Why the Inclusion of Music Learning in Early Childhood Education Practices is vital for Learning?
The study of music learning and brain development has lead to greater understanding of how and why music learning between the ages of 0-7 years is so impactful on brain development. The key areas are language development, the role of movement in brain connectivity, the establishment of social bonds and the foundational development of social skills. Language and music share an overlapping neural networking and we now understand why young child thrive when music is an integral part of their language education. The motor cortex has emerged as a pivotal area for development in the early years of life for both movement but also brain synchronicity and enterainment. Social bonding and social skills are both explicitly and implicit taught in the early years of development and music learning acts as a tool to model, refine and moderate these areas of development. All of these areas will be discussed in light of early childhood educational practices.