The Neurodevelopment Song (Video)

by Kimberly on December 3, 2009 · 15 comments

You asked for it and here it is–“The Neurodevelopment Song.”

Why did I write a song about neurodevelopment? Mostly because I’m a big nerd…but also because I’m trying to improve my songwriting chops. And the only way to do that is to actually write songs.

I first performed this during my presentation at the American Music Therapy Association conference in San Diego last month. I’ve revised and edited a bit since then, but the basic idea is still here.

This song touches on the main concepts of neurodevelopment: nature/nurture, use-dependent development, hierarchical & predictable development, superhighways, etc.

I hope you enjoy it!

P.S. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts–would you like to see more of these types of songs on this blog? If so (or if need), leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!


Right to left, back to front
That’s how the brain develops
Right to left, back to front
It’s neurodevelopment

Verse 1:

Genes bring a predisposition
Environment adds a contribution
To shape how our brain’s built
Cause it grows in a use-dependent way
Experiences have a major say
In determining the adult.
Verse 2:

The back of the brain’s pretty much formed
By the time that we are born
The medulla, pons, and midbrain
Allow us to breathe, help hearts beat
It dictates sleep, we really need
This part called the brainstem.

Verse 3:

The brainstem’s primitive, it’s first to grow
Development keeps on in a hierarchical flow
Through deep structures ending with the frontal lobe
Brain mature til we’re in our 40s
Different ages provide opportunities
For critical skills to develop

Verse 4:

Critical periods are windows of time
Certain parts of our brain are ready and primed
For certain stimuli to develop
Skills like vision, language and trust come to mind
If windows aren’t use you will get behind
Cause your brain didn’t get it

Verse 5:

A baby’s brain is a third of our size
With billions of neurons some will have to die
They’re pruned so we can make room
For connections to form, superhighways called
Fasciculi on which we rely
These pathways let our brain communicate.


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Adelaide Dupont December 3, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Catchy chorus here! “Right to left, back to front”.

Verse three seemed a bit fast, perhaps because there was a lot of information. Especially about the frontal lobe.

Really liked verse four.

Verse one made some important points about genes, environment and experience.

“Medulla pons and midbrain”.

Yes, it would be good to have more songs like these on the blog, because then you learn something. For instance I didn’t know about fasculi, let alone that they could be compared to a superhighway.
.-= Adelaide Dupont´s last blog ..Running sheet for Key Concepts and Development: prelim and first draft, with pics and sounds! =-.

Michelle Erfurt December 4, 2009 at 8:13 am

nice! I wish my college anatomy professor sang this to me when discussing the brain! 🙂
.-= Michelle Erfurt´s last blog ..Mission-Based Business and New Projects! =-.

Rachel December 4, 2009 at 10:04 am

yay! I was waiting for this to come online! I was kind of hoping for the version at AMTA conference, because it was ridiculously fast and amazing how you could still understand what you were saying! This version is a lot easier to follow, but I would still love a recording from conference 😉

Kimberly December 4, 2009 at 10:12 am

Ha! I’ll have to share that with my husband–he’s the one who kept saying there was TOO much being said and that I needed to simplify. Funny:D ~Kimberly

Kimberly December 4, 2009 at 10:13 am

No kidding! I’m going to try to have a whole series of these types of songs…we’ll see, though. A good way to keep working on my songwriting chops, though;-) ~Kimberly

Kimberly December 4, 2009 at 10:14 am

Thank you for the feedback, Adelaide! I will keep working on getting more songs like these on the blog–so stay tuned:D ~Kimberly

Adelaide Dupont December 4, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Probably work on the first half of verse 3. Lines 3 and 6 are catchy.

I find the same pattern with verse 5.

And those end chords are really good.

It would be good to have a tab version so you or your clients could play it, or whoever wanted to. It’s one thing to look at a guitar and place your fingers over it.

In my own life, Grandad is working on playing the piano. The piece he is concentrating on is the theme song from the Titanic movie. (the piano involved is actually an electronic keyboard, and there may be scores).
.-= Adelaide Dupont´s last blog ..Running sheet for Key Concepts and Development: prelim and first draft, with pics and sounds! =-.

Kimberly December 7, 2009 at 2:32 pm

That’s a good point about writing down the music–a future project, maybe? ~Kimberly

Adelaide Dupont December 8, 2009 at 11:36 pm

In your previous experience, how have you written down (noted) the music?

There’s piano notation (recorder uses the same but also Kodaly Hand Signs), and then there’s guitar notation.

With singing, there’s solfege. “Do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do”.

I have used various computer programmes, and some of them show pitch (this is in BASIC, where you would ask the computer to play a frequency). Others use traditional notation, like Finale and Overture. (And Sibelus from 1993 to the 2000s). In very recent years there has been MusicXML.

And there are free pieces of software also: like TuxGuitar.

Lead sheets and chord sheets. And I notice in the southern United States shape notes are used.
.-= Adelaide Dupont´s last blog ..Running sheet for Key Concepts and Development: prelim and first draft, with pics and sounds! =-.

Kimberly December 9, 2009 at 9:08 am

Wow–I hadn’t thought about all those options before. I would simply write down the melody with chord symbols. Given my audience, this would probably be the easiest for them all to read. ~Kimberly

Glen Helgeson MT-BC NMT February 17, 2010 at 1:00 pm

I suggest using the music of Monty Python’s Galaxy Song for your Neurodevelopment Song. The words would fit together better rhythmically. Email me if you need the chords or find them on line. Glen

Here’s a link to a free mp3:

Kimberly February 22, 2010 at 5:18 pm

How cool! I’ve never heard this song before, just listened to it and LOVE IT! It may be the inspiration for my next song:D Thanks for sharing!~Kimberly

margie la bella February 17, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Super clever and informational. I saw that Rachael mentioned she’s heard you do it faster – which would be quite a feat and hysterical. Again, good for lots of different types of people for different reasons dependent on how/why they found this post. I see you have a bunch of this sort of song and I am procrastinating vacuuming so I’ll watch one more.

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