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Scientific Explanation of Allegro’s

Movement Education Techniques

The basic philosophy of Allegro Foundation emphasizes the total learning process by combining cognitive and muscle memory together to stimulate sequential and conceptual learning, problem-solving skills and communication, as well as producing emotional and physiological changes in the body.  Simply put, Allegro’s students with disabilities develop muscle memory through repetitive motion, strengthening and expanding neural circuits that operate as integral pathways to future academic learning.

So what is muscle memory?

Muscle memory can be most easily defined as a form of procedural memory, where a specific motor task is encoded and consolidated into memory through repetition. Muscle memory actually decreases the need for conscious attention to perform the resulting motor activity, and thereby creates maximum efficiency in learning.

Research suggests that humans are not the “tabula rasa” once argued by Locke. Instead motor memory appears to be genetically pre-wired in all humans. When an Allegro Foundation student with a disability first learns a motor task, movement is slow and easily disrupted without concentrated, focused attention. Through practice in weekly classes, the student’s execution of motor tasks naturally becomes smoother, reflecting improvements in his or her brain’s synaptic connectivity as a function of repetitive neural firing.

Why does muscle memory facilitate cognitive development and academic learning?

Because motor processing occurs in nearly all parts of the brain, the resulting muscle memory produces complex, neural networks for more efficient processing of a broad range of skills and abilities.

Brain Breakdown

Cerebellum:

Coordination of voluntary motor movement, balance, equilibrium, and muscle tone.

Frontal Lobe:

Plan a schedule, imagine the future, use reasoned arguments, process emotion, solve problems. In the rearmost portion of each frontal lobe is a motor area, which controls voluntary movement.

Broca’s Area:

 Allows thoughts to be transformed into words. Recent FMRI data determines that Broca’s area also plays a crucial role in encoding complex human movements.

Parietal Lobe:

 Controls movement, orientation, recognition, and perception of stimuli, as well as reading and arithmetic.

Thalamus:

 Sensory and motor functions. Almost all sensory information enters this structure where neurons send that information to the overlying cortex. Basal ganglia, clusters of nerve cells surrounding the thalamus, are responsible for motor control.

Mesencephalon:

 Vision, hearing, eye movement, and body movement. The anterior part has the cerebral peduncle, which is a huge bundle of axons traveling from the cerebral cortex through the brain stem and these fibers (along with other structures) are important for voluntary motor function.

Pons:

 Motor control and sensory analysis. Some structures within the pons are linked to the cerebellum, and thus are involved in movement and posture.