Cognitive development

Music lessons can help children to concentrate

Brass class 1

Researchers at the Dutch-speaking university, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, in Brussels, Belgium have discovered that music lessons can help children to concentrate.

Sixty-three 9-12-year-olds took part in the research, and the results showed that the group of 32 children who had been having regular music lessons since the age of five displayed ‘enhanced cognitive inhibitory control’ compared to the 31 in the non-music lesson group. ‘Cognitive inhibition’ refers to our ability to tune out irrelevant information and focus our attention on what we’re doing.

To measure inhibitory control, all of the children completed a task where they were asked to press a certain key when a specific colour appeared on a computer screen in front of them. The children were scored on whether they pushed the correct buttons, and how long it took them to respond.

The researchers found that the young musicians performed significantly better than the non-musicians, and believe this might be related to music training because playing a musical instrument requires high levels of selective attention.

SOURCES:
Pacific Standard: https://psmag.com/another-brain-benefit-of-music-lessons-4e981ead59ff#.j3a1lyb1p
Musicae Scientiae: http://msx.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/06/14/1029864916655477.abstract

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: IMPROVED CONCENTRATION
TARGET GROUP: CHILDREN
AGE: 9-12 YEARS OLD
MUSIC TYPE: SUZUKI METHOD
TYPE OF STUDY: ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: 63
PERIOD OF STUDY: UNKNOWN
DATE: 2015
PLACE: BELGIUM

Brain imaging shows enhanced executive brain function in people with musical training

Boston Children's Hospital brain image

This image shows functional MRI imaging during mental task switching: Panels A and B shows brain activation in musically trained and untrained children, respectively. Panel C shows brain areas that are more active in musically trained than musically untrained children. Credit: Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience, Boston Children’s Hospital

 

Another study has revealed a biological link between early music training and improved executive functioning in children and adults. The controlled study by researchers from the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children’s Hospital used functional MRI brain imaging to show the connection. Executive functions are the high-level cognitive processes that enable people to quickly process and retain information, regulate their behaviours, make good choices, solve problems, plan and adjust to changing mental demands.

SOURCES:

Science Daily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617211020.htm

PLOS One: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0099868

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT, EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING
TARGET GROUP: CHILDREN & ADULTS
AGE: 9-12 YEARS & 18-35 YEARS
MUSIC TYPE: GENERAL
TYPE OF STUDY: ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: 57 (27 CHILDREN & 30 ADULTS)
PERIOD OF STUDY: Unknown
DATE: 2014
PLACE: USA