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8 reasons why your child should learn Carnatic music

The cognitive journey of music and its influences on children

‘Music is the medicine of the mind’ – John A Logan

The essence of music lies in its harmony, rhythm, melody and dynamics. Like all things, music came from the universe, and then man added magic to it along with physics and science. Music has always had a powerful effect on our brain. It is perhaps the only art form that can instantly invoke a multitude of emotions within us. This is because music involves practically every part of the brain.

It is believed that scientific research on music began in Ancient times. Pythagoras in his experiences and research elucidated the fundamental structures of music to science. Archimedes was the first one to give music its numbers i.e., the simple ratios of octave, perfect fifth and perfect fourth.

Probably, this could be the reason why it is said that music can trigger an enhancement in mathematical abilities. Studies have shown that the brain carries out complex tasks when a child performs music, proving that music stimulates high brain processes.

In India CV Raman did some pioneer research on the acoustics of Indian musical instruments from 1909 to 1935. With the advent of AI, scientific research embraced the aspects of cognition of music. This translated to a more scientific understanding of how the ambience of music impacts the mind. The strong connection of music between individuals, even with the absence of understanding the language, makes music a bigger universal phenomenon than speech.

Effect of music on the brain: left hemisphere and right hemisphere

By listening to music regularly, our neurons and synapses become active. It is said that the left side hemisphere processes rhythm and lyrics. The right side is for melodious sound and harmonic relationships. Sometimes memories of the past experiences are triggered by listening to music and this is called flashbulb memory.

Music seems to stimulate a wide range of processing mechanisms. This showcases how music cognition might relate to more complex cognitive abilities. It is said that the structure of the Indian Classical Music System within its own distinct rhythmic style may demand a totally different cognitive engagement.

In his book, ‘this is your brain on music’, Dr Daniel Levitin explains that listening to music first involves the subcortical structures like cochlear nuclear, the brainstem and the cerebellum. It then moves up to auditory cortices on both sides of the brain.

So, where does music go in your brain?

The first sounds of music stimulate the memory centres in the brain such as the hippocampus and lowest parts of the frontal lobe.

If you are someone who enjoys music, then it’s quite probable that it involves your cerebellum the moment you start tapping your feet to the music. When you pick up that music book to read lyrics, it involves the visual cortex.

While performing music, the vibrations and sounds activate the frontal lobe for planning, along with the motor and sensory cortex. Musicians are known to have developed a greater ability to use both hands than the average person. This is because playing music requires coordination of somatic motor sensory touch and auditory information. It is a known fact that because of the increased networks between left and right brain, thick fibres that interconnect the 2 motor areas are larger in musicians than in non-musicians.


Music has the ability to increase the size of the auditory and motor cortex. This ability to change is known as neuroplasticity. Because music relies a lot on creativity it has been regarded as a right brain activity. But brain-imaging has proved that both hemispheres could be involved for music.

Research proves that music localization such as FMRI and PET shows that playing music professionally develops the analytical processes in the left hemisphere. Whereas other individual process music in their right hemisphere.

Scientific evidence states that the left hemisphere takes predominance in musicians compared to musical amateurs.

The benefits of learning Carnatic music in children

Reason 1: Carnatic music as a stress buster

When learning Carnatic music, children have to maintain discipline regimens and the benefits they accrue from it, is akin to meditation and yoga. Along with its sounds and vibrations, Carnatic music also evokes a positive spiritual and physical influence, therefore by reducing stress in children.

Reason 2: Development of motor skills and hand-eye coordination in children

Since children have to use both hands, it allows them to form musical frames that are in sync with discipline, patience and perseverance. This movement of both hands helps them improve hand-eye synchronization and motor skills. There also seems to be a link between Carnatic musicians and a love for other related physical activities like sports, dance etc.,

Reason 3: Carnatic music hones brain functions in children

It has been proven that Carnatic music improves memory, hearing and protects the brain from the depredations of aging. In Carnatic music students are expected to commit to memory around 1000 compositions especially in the case of professionals. Good memory is a prerequisite to learning Carnatic music.

Reason 4: Carnatic music and maths

The integrity of rhythm and melody play an important role in the performance of Carnatic music. Renowned Carnatic musician PK Padmanabha, said that Carnatic music is able to enhance mathematical abilities because of its rhythms and frequencies. Therefore, it also increases the retention power of the brain as the children have to memorise many notes. Additionally, Carnatic music helps improve lyrical awareness and enhances concentration.

Reason 5: Carnatic music and listening skills

The practice of learning from a Guru or a master involves keen listening skills for any serious Carnatic learner. The slight nuances between tempo, pitch, melody or oscillations must be identified with accuracy. A crucial skill is the ability to identify between Ragas. This translates to the learner being able to perceive tiny variations between sounds. Since Carnatic music has to be practiced over several years, the student develops excellent auditory skills and these benefits are accrued even in old age.

Reason 6: Cultural Understanding

Carnatic music is sprinkled with mythological references throughout. This introduces children to aspects of their tradition. Some compositions are set in the backdrop of temples which can stimulate a student spiritually.

Reason 8: Perseverance

Carnatic music requires a whole lot of discipline and hard work. A student faces a lot of challenges while trying to perform perfect renditions, trying to make it seem effortless at the same time. To reach the level of perfection that the performance of Carnatic music requires, students cannot give up. They have to persevere with regular practice and handle small failures with maturity.

Reason 9: Self-expression

The scope of Carnatic music allows for adequate creativity and self-expression. Therefore, it is said that almost every rendition is unique. The creative space allows for students to explore various styles and develop their own personality. The student’s performance is reflective of the student’s expression and individual dynamics that come from their knowledge and years of learning.


The impact and influence of Carnatic music become obvious over time. If your child is interested in Carnatic music, training can be initiated as early as the age of 4. If you are interested in joining our sessions, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information. Learner Circle has some of the best Carnatic Vocals Experts in India to provide your child with professional guidance and expertise.

To book a free trial and explore our courses, click here.

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