“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” - Albert Einstein
What is Life Long Learning? Simply, I believe it is the consistent and deep engagement of the mind and body in the active pursuit of knowledge and experience from birth to death. Now, science is helping to support the importance of learning in keeping brains active and healthy for a lifetime. The Maryland State Department of Education with the Johns Hopkins University School of Education published a set of guidelines in 2010 entitled Healthy Beginnings, supporting development and learning from birth through three years of age. The Dana Alliance for the Brain states in its paper Learning as We Age (2012) that “mental exercise, especially learning new things or pursuing activities that are intellectually stimulating, may strengthen brain-cell networks and help preserve mental functions. The brain is just as capable of learning in the second half of life as in the first half.”
Over recent years, neuroscientists continue to conduct research on how the mental and physical activities so integral to the arts are equally fundamental for brain function. Charles Limb, brain scientist and musician at Johns Hopkins University (and a member of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s science advisory team), says that “the brain on arts is different than the everyday brain. Art is magical, but it is not magic. It is a neurological product and we can study it. “
At the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra we are committed to the importance of engagement in music from the earliest age to the oldest. The BSO Music Box Series (™) introduces children 6 months to three years of age to music, art, and reading through interactive activities designed to stimulate awareness, listening, coordination, language, and music making. Although the research is anecdotal based on observance, we are seeing positive recognition in children who are attending these experiences on a regular basis.