Arts & Human Development Task Force



Headshot of a woman.

Photo courtesy of Dr Nina Kraus

Neurobiologist and director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University

Dr. Nina Kraus is a professor of neurobiology at Northwestern University where she directs the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, also known as Brainvolts. She has made the study of how we biologically process sound her life’s work. She and the Brainvolts’ team have conducted long-term, multi-year studies looking at the brainwaves of children and found that making music—whether with instrument or voice—actually makes biological changes to the way the brain processes sound which, in turn, strengthens the ability of the brain to better apprehend the depth and breadth of language and speech. Simply put, creating music builds our capacity to turn sound into meaning. Nina is passionate about sound—she remembers as a child sitting under her mother’s piano as she played. She brings that same sense of wonder and excitement to her rigorous biological research, and you’ll hear it throughout the podcast…which is a perfect way to explore the way we process sound.

Last month saw the peer-reviewed journal Early Childhood Research Quarterly publish a “special section” devoted to the arts . The section was co-edited by my colleague Melissa Menzer and Adam Winsler, a developmental psychologist who is also a principal investigator of the National Endowment for...
A persistent shortcoming of research in the arts has been a scarcity of large, longitudinal studies that track representative groups of Americans as they engage not only with the arts, but with other life-changing events and behaviors. Even when such data are available, the studies often do not...
During a January 2017 research workshop held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), participants rapidly became aware that at least two different expert groups had converged on a shared agenda. Working together, music therapists and neuroscientists sought to identify research needs and...
Today happens to be the 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band , that epoch-defining LP. Putting one’s own age in perspective, the album’s opening line—“It was 20 years ago today”—no longer conjures an ancient past. For this listener at least, 20 years traverses...
I frequently make trips between my home in the Bay Area and the East Coast. During a recent trip to New York I spent a morning walking with a friend along the High Line—an elevated freight rail line that was transformed into a public park on Manhattan’s West Side. The High Line displays a wide...


Headshot of Akua Kouyate-Tate

Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap

Senior Director of Education at the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts

Wolf Trap is integrating art with fundamental science and math learning for young children and the data show significant results.

Melissa Menzer of our Office of Research and Analysis looks at our new report on the arts in early childhood.
A version of this article originally appeared in The Journal of the San Francisco Medical Society (March 2008) . In The Fabric of the Cosmos, Brian Greene’s introduction to theoretical physics for a lay audience, the author enthusiastically summarizes the essence of string theory—and its unique...
Carol Morgan, deputy director for Education at ArtsConnection, and Jennifer Stengel-Mohr of New York’s Queens College present context for their presentation during the next NEA Task Force webinar which will focus on their research on the relationship between arts education and English language learners.