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KPBS is exploring learning at the cellular level in an ongoing education series called What Learning Looks Like.” The goal is to help us understand how learning happens — or should happen — in our everyday lives.

What does the brain look like when you’re playing music? According to students at Kellogg Elementary School in Chula Vista, it’s definitely pink and, if you could shrink yourself down and step inside, a relaxing place to be.

“I imagine a little mattress, but brain, and like in the cartoons when there’s music, there’s little notes in there,” said Abel Beltran, 10.

“I would compare my brain to this toy that I have at home,” said Andrea Sandoval, 10. “It’s like a ball that closes and opens.”

“I think it might move a bit, because as we’re playing music, not only are we playing it, we’re also learning something new,” said Bezalel Shin, 11.

UC San Diego neuroscientist John Iversen said they’re not too far off.

“I think that actually shows some deep insight,” Iversen said. “Even when you’re just listening to music, youre brain is not just sort of passively recording what comes in. It’s actually actively engaging with the sound.”

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