A new study by the University of Bath shows that learning to play the piano can improve the brain’s ability to process sights and sounds, and can help to improve mood.
In the randomised controlled design (RCT) study, 31 adults were assigned into either a music training group (MTG) which received piano training (10 participants), a music listening group which listened to the same music (11), or a control group which did its homework (10).
The MTG took one-hour piano lessons a week for 11 weeks and the researchers found that within just a few weeks of starting lessons, people’s ability to process multisensory information – i.e. sight and sound – was enhanced. In addition, the findings showed that participants also had reduced depression, anxiety and stress scores after the training compared to before it.
The study authors suggest that music training could be beneficial for people with mental health difficulties, and further research is currently underway to test this.
Cognitive psychologist and music specialist Dr Karin Petrini from the University of Bath’s Department of Psychology, said: “Learning to play an instrument like the piano is a complex task: it requires a musician to read a score, generate movements and monitor the auditory and tactile feedback to adjust their further actions. In scientific terms, the process couples visual with auditory cues and results in a multisensory training for individuals.
“The findings from our study suggest that this has a significant, positive impact on how the brain processes audio-visual information even in adulthood when brain plasticity is reduced.”
Sceintific Reports: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-23340-4
University of Bath: https://www.bath.ac.uk/announcements/playing-the-piano-boosts-brain-processing-power-and-helps-lift-the-blues-study/
Lab Manager: https://www.labmanager.com/news/learning-to-play-music-may-improve-multisensory-processing-reduce-depression-29711
|BENEFIT:||COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT & WELLBEING|
|TYPE OF STUDY:||ACADEMIC RESEARCH|
|PERIOD OF STUDY:||11 WEEKS|