Essence Festival: Connection between music and language


by: Smart Coos

Essence Festival: Connection between music and language

You might be wondering the connection between music and language, or why Smart Coos is presenting at the Essence Music Festival . The Essence Music Festival is a long-­‐held tradition that not only celebrates accomplished artists but also African-­‐ American culture. It doesn’t seem too similar to Smart Coos, a start up with a mission to create a generation of multilingual children. Well, as it turns out, our musical talents as well as language learning abilities lie in a similar region of the brain, revealing that musicians are capable of higher level cognitive processing.

Studies show that people who are able keep a rhythm also have more consistent brain responses to speech (Lewis). Thus, babies and toddlers who learn core music skills through songs and games may positively influence their fluency of foreign language. It is music’s ability to boost all language networks in the brain that leads to an increased acquisition of foreign language learning (Hendricksson-­‐Macaulay). This is quite related to Smart Coos’ push to capitalize on children’s critical period of language learning in childhood. Thus adults, like the many talented musicians that will perform on the stage of the Essence Music Festival, who had musical training during childhood retain an ability to learn foreign languages quickly and more efficiently than adults who did not have early childhood music training.

The artists on the stage of the Essence Music Festival reveal a group of individuals who are not only talented musically, but who also have the capacity for language learning. In our increasingly globalized world, languages allow us to communicate with people from different backgrounds and better understand different cultures. Music is a defining element of many cultures, and with a language barrier the thoughts, ideas and values of a culture are not understood. Thus, early music training and language learning through Smart Coos can help children be prepared for a more diverse future. Music is a language of its own, so it’s no wonder that musical training in childhood enhances the capacity to learn foreign languages.

For more information about Smart Coos involvement at the Essence Festival. Visit:

Contributed by Katie Gladstone


Works Cited

Henriksson-­‐Macaulay, Lisa. “Are Musicians Better Language Learners?” Theguardian. N.p., 2014. Web.

Lewis, Tanya. “Ability to Keep a Beat Linked to Language Skills.” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 17 Sept. 2013. Web. June 2015.

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