A child’s brain develops faster with exposure to music education

Creative illustration of the brain

Image from Pixabay, reproduced under Creative Commons CC0.

A two-year study by researchers at the Brain and Creativity Institute (BCI) at the University of Southern California shows that exposure to music and music instruction accelerates the brain development of young children in the areas responsible for language development, sound, reading skill and speech perception.

The study of 6-7-year-old children began in 2012, when neuroscientists started monitoring a group of 37 children from an underprivileged neighbourhood of Los Angeles. Thirteen of them received music instruction through the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles Program where they practiced up to seven hours each week.

Eleven children were enrolled in a community-based soccer programme, and another 13 children were not involved in any training programme at all.

The researchers compared the three groups by tracking the electrical activity in the brains, conducting behavioural testing and monitored changes using brain scans.

The results showed that the auditory systems of the children in the music programme had accelerated faster than the other children not engaged in music. Dr. Assal Habibi, the lead author of the study and a senior research associate at the BCI, explained that the auditory system is stimulated by music and the system is also engaged in general sound processing. This is essential to reading skills, language development and successful communication.

SOURCES:
Science Direct: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878929315301122
Science World Report: http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/42317/20160615/childrens-brain-develop-faster-exposure-music-instruction.htm
University of Southern California: https://dornsife.usc.edu/bci/brain-and-music/
Southern California Public Radio: http://www.scpr.org/news/2016/06/15/61697/usc-study-continues-to-provide-data-on-music-and-b/
News Medical: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20160616/Music-instruction-improves-cognitive-socio-emotional-development-in-young-children.aspx
Slipped Disc: http://slippedisc.com/2016/06/la-phil-research-learning-music-speeds-up-kids-brains/

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: BRAIN DEVELOPMENT
TARGET GROUP: CHILDREN
AGE: 6-7 YEARS OLD
MUSIC TYPE: CLASSICAL (EL SISTEMA)
TYPE OF STUDY: ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: 37
PERIOD OF STUDY: 2 YEARS (OF A 5 YEAR STUDY)
DATE: 2016
PLACE: USA
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34 comments

    1. Thanks for your interest. Yes of course, the information is in the public domain and I’m happy for you to use our copy about it – would be great if you’d include a link to our site.

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      1. I’m afraid I don’t know Tei: we only really collect research that’s about the impact/effect of music, if we collected other research this would be a huge site! Good luck with finding out more.

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    1. I have a 92 year old trumpet student- he and another retired fellow and I just played a 1 hour trumpet gig today- it certainly does keep the brain sharp!

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  1. This is great info! Could you follow up a bit on what happened with the kids in soccer and those that didn’t have any sports or music? What were the results for them? I’d be curious to know. Thanks!

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  2. Your wonderful study also supports research regarding the vital importance of the Fine Arts and Whole Brain Learning. In my 35 years as a visual arts teacher, some progress has been made however, the uphill battle continues. Sadly many of our public schools have cut or totally eliminated Music, Art, Theater and Dance from their budgets and curriculum. We wonder why kids can’t read, spell and write a complete sentence. Emotional Intelligence cannot be fostered by logic, memorization and facts which serve to keep us disconnected from our personal, creative powers and the positive energy of our 5 senses.

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  3. My children are learning to sing in a small group. Everytime i pick them up they are always so joyful and happy. They bpth siffer anxiety and musoc has been a blessing .

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  4. Desde hace 12 años vengo investgando sobre la musca y su efecto en el cerebro, me gustaria compartir mis experiencias con uds, aunque tengo ciertas aclaraciones sobre todo con los efectos de la musica mal llamada clasica.almagua2002 @ yahoo.com

    Translation: For 12 years I have been researching on music and its effect on the brain, I would like to share my experiences with you, although I have some clarifications especially with the effects of the badly called musica clasica.

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