Symphony of Learning

What if David Attenborough could sing? How about Stephen Hawking? Brian Cox? Well thanks to John Boswell at Symphony of Science they can and the results are surprising, delightful, educational and musically inventive.

When my daughter was younger we watched hours of Attenborough to the point that she talked about David as if he were a member of the family. We replaced TV time with documentary time instead and we still watch plenty of docus today from TED and other sources.

Of course it would be just wrong not to watch Big Band Theory 🙂 but we have the DVD’s right next to our Flight of the Conchords DVDs because they are very much mockumentaries in our world.

As brain researchers uncover more about the brain and learning we discover from Donald Ford in an article called How the Brain Learns”

What does this neuroscience research suggest about learning?

We need to ensure that learning engages all the senses and taps the emotional side of the brain, through methods like humor, storytelling, group activities and games. Emphasis on the rational and logical alone does not produce powerful memories.

A third recent discovery at the University of Michigan’s Biopsychology Program confirmed that the brain behaves selectively about how it processes experiences that enter through our five senses. The brain is programmed to pay special attention to any experience that is novel or unusual. It does this by making comparisons between the new information brought through the senses and existing information stored in our brain’s long-term memory. When the brain finds a match, it will quickly eliminate the new memory as redundant.

When new information contradicts what’s already stored in memory, however, our brains go into overdrive, working hard to explain the discrepancy. If the new information proves useful to us, it becomes a permanent memory that can be retrieved later. If this new information does not seem useful or if we do not trust its source, we are likely to forget it or even reject it altogether, preferring to stick with the information we already possess.

Since learning inherently requires acquisition of new information, our brains’ propensity to focus on the novel and forget the redundant makes it a natural learning ally.

In fact, our brains are hard wired to learn, from the moment we are born. Our native curiosity is driven by our brain’s inherent search for the unusual in our environment. “

Ok lets skip to the video now – so here you are…

“[David Attenborough]
All life is related
And it enables us to construct with confidence
The complex tree that represents the history of life

Our planet, the Earth, is as far as we know
Unique in the universe; it contains life
Here plants and animals proliferate in such numbers
That we still have not even named all the different species

Darwin’s great insight revolutionized the way in which we see the world
We now understand why there are so many different species”

And so it goes.

We also like Physics so here is one called “The Poetry of Reality (An Anthem for Science)” Just so you can say you’ve seen Stephen Hawking sing. By the way almost no one read that book of his but it was the Harry Potter of it’s day and they did make a movie of it called “A Brief History of Time”.

Want to see Brian Cox & Morgan Freeman sing about “atoms and subatomic particles, the jiggly things that make up everything we see”. Try “Symphony of Science – the Quantum World!”

What do you think NZ teachers, musicians, educators and other creatives – should we be mashing up the curriculum into musical brain sized memes ?

Do check out the other Symphony of Science clips as well.

“The goal of the project is to bring scientific knowledge and philosophy to the public, in a novel way, through the medium of music. Science and music are two passions of mine that I aim to combine, in a way that is intended to bring a meaningful message to listeners, while simultaneously providing an enjoyable musical experience.”

Onward to the Edge! + Yoda – Feel the Force (Yoda Remixed)

Enjoy learning and “love the questions themsleves.”