Posts Tagged ‘research’


Arts and Engineering Team

November 25, 2016

National Science Foundation supporting arts education

Recently I learned about Aaron Knochel from his mother in law, Judy Fricke. Judy is a Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader whose focus is on early childhood music education. Aaron is an assistant professor of art education who is leading an arts interdisciplinary team at Penn State. They just received a two-year grant for $299,780f rom the National Science Foundation to design and build a mobile makerspace to explore informal learning in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) subjects.

“According to Graeme Sullivan, director of the Penn State School of Visual Arts, the significance of an NSF grant for a collaborative project involving faculty from the School of Visual Arts and College of Engineering cannot be overstated. “It affirms an educational investment in studio-based research practices of thinking and doing that make use of the best attributes of human curiosity, problem-seeking, and problem-solving,” said Sullivan.”

You can learn more about Aaron by CLICKING HERE. And, read more of the article that explains the work that Aaron and the team are doing by CLICKING HERE.


Music Sharpens Brain Pathways

December 4, 2013

Quality music programs are essential

Education Week, November 25, 2013 in an article called Music Training Sharpens Brain Pathway Studies Say, writer Sarah D. Sparks provides an overview of the new research suggesting that the “complexity involved in practicing and performing music may help students’ cognitive development.” Now that is information that I am sure Maine music teaches are aware of and observe it day – to – day teaching students music.

Read the entire article by clicking here.


The Next Edison

November 3, 2013

Research linking arts and STEM

Artsy Kids More Likely to be the Next Edison published in Laboratory Equipment by Michigan State University, October 24, 2013. Research at Michigan State University links “childhood participation in arts and crafts activities to patents generated and businesses launched as adults”. You might be thinking as I did, that the research referred to pre-school or elementary age children. In fact, the researchers defined childhood as up to 14 years old.  The students included in the study were honors graduates who had majored in science, technology, engineering, or math. You can read the entire article by clicking here.


Summer Reading: Articles – Resources

June 19, 2013

Below are several resources that you might find helpful and useful to your teaching. THANK YOU to everyone who emails links to interesting articles, research, and in general SOME REALLY GREAT STUFF! to share with others!


Common Core and the ARTS

February 6, 2013

College Board Releases Common Core Study

I have received emails in the recent months from visual and performing arts teachers who have said they have been asked to do work with the Common Core State Standards (CCCSS) for English/language Arts and math.

Most of you know that the National Core Arts Standards Conceptual Framework was released on January 14, 2013. The College Board has been part of the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards and has provided several research components that supports the work.

Late last week, Amy Charleroy of the College Board announced that the Common Core alignment study is complete.  The work, entitled A Review of Connections between The Common Core State Standards and The Next Generation Arts Standards  may be downloaded at

Dr. Nancy Rubino, of the College Board, discusses Common Core connections in the Conceptual Framework roll out presentation, also housed on the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards wikispace. The presentation and PowerPoint may be found at:

These studies can provide answers to your questions and valuable information that can help with the curriculum work you are doing at the local level.


Resources, Links, Research

December 31, 2012

Interesting “Stuff”

A great way to end 2012 with some interesting resources including links to articles, research on arts education, podcasts and other types of resources. Enjoy!

Thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts for some of the above language.


Early Music Improves Hearing

October 11, 2012

Another longtime benefit to music

Carol Trimble

In my family we’ve been talking a lot lately about the topic of hearing because my 92 year-old dad has been trying to make the decision about whether or not it’s worth the investment to him to get new, upgraded hearing aids. (He said, “If I spend all that money, I sure am going to be mad if I die.”)  We’ve talked especially about the real possibility that, even with new hearing aids, he may still have great difficulty hearing in situations like restaurants where there’s a lot of background noise in addition to (and jumbled in with) the conversation around the table.  So I was fascinated to read the recent New York Times article “Early Music Lessons Have Longtime Benefits” by Perri Klass, M.D., showing that yet another benefit of early music education is to improve hearing in exactly that kind of situation.

Klass reports that, “In a study of those who do keep playing, published this summer, researchers found that as musicians age, they experience the same decline in peripheral hearing, the functioning of the nerves in their ears, as nonmusicians. But older musicians preserve the brain functions, the central auditory processing skills that can help you understand speech against the background of a noisy environment.

‘We often refer to the ‘cocktail party’ problem — or imagine going to a restaurant where a lot of people are talking,” said Dr. Claude Alain, assistant director of the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto and one of the authors of the study. “The older adults who are musically trained perform better on speech in noise tests — it involves the brain rather than the peripheral hearing system.’

It encourages me to know that the Maine students who are currently in strong early music education programs may not have to struggle with the kind of hearing problem that has been so difficult for my dad, who did not have the opportunity to benefit from such programs when he was a child.

But, of course, that’s not the only thing that encourages me about Maine students who are participating in strong music education!  As Alexandra Perbery-Clark, a doctoral candidate researching these issues, is quoted as saying in the article:

“We want music to be recognized for what it can be in a person’s life, not necessarily, ‘Oh, we want you to have better cognitive skills, so we’re going to put you in music,’ ” Ms. Parbery-Clark said. “Music is great, music is fantastic, music is social — let them enjoy it for what it really is.”

It’s yet another reminder to us all that an investment in music education is always worth it, in so many ways!

See the full NYT article at

Thank you to Carol Trimble for contributing this blog post about this interesting research. Carol is the former executive director of the Maine Alliance for Arts Education and is enjoying teaching as an adjunct instructor for UMA on the Ellsworth and Bangor campuses. She can be reached at


Measuring the Therapeutic Benefits of the Arts

June 24, 2012

Studying the brain for the value of the arts

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is looking at the studies underway on how the arts are being used for therapeutic purposes. NEA is interested because the study could have an impact on future arts funding. Art, music, and writing is being used to heal soldiers on their return from war areas to help them with post-traumatic stress disorder. This isn’t new but the latest technology is providing a way to is measure the impact the arts are having. It can actually look at the part of the brain that is being impacted. One of the questions being asked is “it is known that art therapies can help with the psychological effects of these invisible wounds, but can they promote physical healing?”

The first study is being conducted by the National Intrepid Center of Excellence. At this link you can watch the clip and learn more.


Arts Ed Partnership New Site

May 11, 2012

Resources for educators, parents, school leaders, community members contains research, policy, and advocacy resources. It contains information about the “essential role the arts play in developing students’ creative thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration skills—attributes many education and business leaders identify as important in preparing young people for college and career success.”

Click here to go directly to the new website.


Musical Scores Made from Tree Rings

April 13, 2012

German artist Bartholomaus Traubeck

A record player (the kind we used when I was growing up) was modified to be able to read the growth rings of a tree to create music. Bartholomaus Traubeck created what he calls Years to analyze the rings for their strength, thickness, and rate of growth. It transform this data and outputs it as music. You can read more, see photos, and hear music by clicking here.

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