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Tero Toivanen

First Evidence That Musical Training Affects Brain Development In Young Children - 0 views

  • The findings, published today (20 September 2006) in the online edition of the journal Brain [1], show that not only do the brains of musically-trained children respond to music in a different way to those of the untrained children, but also that the training improves their memory as well. After one year the musically trained children performed better in a memory test that is correlated with general intelligence skills such as literacy, verbal memory, visiospatial processing, mathematics and IQ.
  • Researchers have found the first evidence that young children who take music lessons show different brain development and improved memory over the course of a year compared to children who do not receive musical training.
  • While previous studies have shown that older children given music lessons had greater improvements in IQ scores than children given drama lessons, this is the first study to identify these effects in brain-based measurements in young children.
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  • The researchers chose children being trained by the Suzuki method for several reasons: it ensured the children were all trained in the same way, were not selected for training according to their initial musical talent and had similar support from their families. In addition, because there was no early training in reading music, the Suzuki method provided the researchers with a good model of how training in auditory, sensory and motor activities induces changes in the cortex of the brain.
  • Analysis of the MEG responses showed that across all children, larger responses were seen to the violin tones than to the white noise, indicating that more cortical resources were put to processing meaningful sounds. In addition, the time that it took for the brain to respond to the sounds (the latency of certain MEG components) decreased over the year. This means that as children matured, the electrical conduction between neurons in their brains worked faster.
  • Of most interest, the Suzuki children showed a greater change over the year in response to violin tones in an MEG component (N250m) related to attention and sound discrimination than did the children not taking music lessons.
  • Analysis of the music tasks showed greater improvement over the year in melody, harmony and rhythm processing in the children studying music compared to those not studying music. General memory capacity also improved more in the children studying music than in those not studying music.
  • The finding of very rapid maturation of the N250m component to violin sounds in children taking music lessons fits with their large improvement on the memory test. It suggests that musical training is having an effect on how the brain gets wired for general cognitive functioning related to memory and attention.
  • It is clear that music is good for children's cognitive development and that music should be part of the pre-school and primary school curriculum.
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    Researchers have found the first evidence that young children who take music lessons show different brain development and improved memory over the course of a year compared to children who do not receive musical training.
Matti Narkia

How to unleash your brain's inner genius - life - 03 June 2009 - New Scientist - 0 views

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    Savants - individuals with conditions that result in remarkable mathematical, artistic or musical talents - are extremely rare. But new findings about how their formidable brains work hint that we might all be able to develop similar abilities
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