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How does music shape our brains? What kind of benefits can we gain from music training? Does starting early help and do those changes persist?

Join us on April 23 to answer these questions and learn more about the growing body of research that links early musical involvement with beneficial changes in our brains that can improve the way we think, act, and behave.

For the inaugural Marilyn Thomson Early Childhood Education Centre Science Symposium, we’re bringing together neuroscience experts from across Canada to discuss the various psychological and neurological factors that are influenced by early exposure to music. In other words: we’ll be talking about how early exposure to music positively influences the development of children’s brains.

Our guest scientists will talk about their own research on topics such as music perception in infancy, the brain’s response to musical training, and the long-term benefits of childhood music experiences. The discussion and concluding Q&A will be hosted by The Royal Conservatory’s own neuroscientist in residence, Dr. Sean Hutchins, who will present the ground-breaking research he is conducting with our Smart Start early childhood curriculum.

And we won’t just be talking about music. Our scientific discussions will be interspersed with musical interludes, brought to you by the talented musicians from the Royal Conservatory School, The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists, and The Glenn Gould School, so that we can all reflect on the development of musical talent from the very young, to the highly proficient performers.

Sunday, April 23, 2017
2:00pm (approx. 3 hours including intermission)
Mazzoleni Hall, The Royal Conservatory
273 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON
Tickets: $30 general public | $20 students and seniors (65+)

Our speakers
Dr. Sean Hutchins

Dr. Sean Hutchins
The Royal Conservatory

Opening address: Learning about Learning


Dr. Sandra Trehub
University of Toronto, Mississauga

Musical Beginnings

Dr. Virginia Penhune
Concordia University

How does early music training affect brain and behaviour?


Dr. Benjamin Zendel
Memorial University

The impact of music training on hearing abilities in older adults