Learning to play a musical instrument can strengthen children’s brains. This post will discuss a recent scientific article about the effects of music training on children’s development.
Learning to play music
Previous studies found that learning to play a musical instrument improves musical processing skills and other cognitive abilities. For example, learning to play music has been related to:
- Improved skills in the auditory domain: brain regions that are engaged in processing sounds
- Brain differences in auditory regions
- Enhanced cognitive and executive function skills
Comparing musicians and non-musicians
This article focused on the impact of music training after 2 years. The authors explored the effects of music training on children’s brain and cognitive development. They compared three groups of children:
- The first group: involved in music training
- The second group: involved in sports training
- The third group: not enrolled in any systematic after school training.
Effects of music training
The results of the study showed that after 2 years of training:
- Children in the music group had better musically relevant auditory skills and showed related brain changes compared with children involved in sports and children without any systematic training. For example, children in the music group performed better during a task to asses if two short musical phrases are the same or different.
- In addition, children with music training, compared with children without any systematic training, showed more neural activity during a cognitive inhibition task. There were no differences between children with music training and children with sports training.
- There were no differences between the three groups in nonmusical cognitive tasks.
Music training could impact children’s development. Learning to play music can lead to both brain and behavioral changes in children. Consider if your child would be interested to learn a musical instrument.
Habibi, A., Damasio, A., Ilari, B., Elliott Sachs, M., & Damasio, H. (2018). Music training and child development: a review of recent findings from a longitudinal study. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.