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      Musical intervention programs and wellbeing: A review from Positive Developmental Neuroscience

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      Positive Developmental Neuroscience, El Sistema, music training, neuroplasticity, socioeconomic status


            Introduction: Musical activity may enhance one's well-being, which could lead to a flourishing life. Emotional and reward brain circuitry can be activated through musical involvement demonstrating the ability of the environment to alter the brain. This form of neuroplasticity can have lasting beneficial effects. El Sistema is a worldwide musical intervention program that originated in Venezuela and targets socioeconomically disadvantaged children by giving them the chance to be involved in an ensemble orchestra group. This social learning environment can aid in resilience development of children coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. We will examine El Sistema (and El Sistema-inspired programs), the brain and mind, and positive outcomes under a new subfield of neuroscience called Positive Developmental Neuroscience. Objectives: The purpose of this poster is to review the literature on the musical intervention program, El Sistema (and El Sistema-inspired programs), and frame it in the context of Positive Developmental Neuroscience. Methods: A systematic search of available literature in the PubMed and PsycINFO databases was performed. Search terms included "music", "El Sistema", "neuroplasticity", and "neuroscience". By conducting extensive literature reviews and borrowing elements of Positive Psychology, information was gathered to create the subfield of Positive Developmental Neuroscience. Results: El Sistema can positively impact the lives, brains, and minds of children involved in its ensemble orchestra group. Our review shows that multiple brain regions are activated by playing an instrument. These well known changes are very likely to occur in children taking part in El Sistema (and El Sistema-inspired programs), which can lead to neuroplasticity in children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Playing instruments in a social setting has benefits both inside and outside the musical domain. Positive Developmental Neuroscience attempts to describe these effects in terms of its outcomes on the brain, mind, and wellbeing of child musicians. Conclusions: Musical intervention programs like El Sistema can have beneficial effects on children's wellbeing by influencing their brain circuitry and leading to positive outcomes.


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            Social & Behavioral Sciences
            Positive Developmental Neuroscience, El Sistema, music training, neuroplasticity, socioeconomic status


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