language skills

Music training started in secondary school can have an impact on teenager’s brains

teenage brain image

Thanks to Mr Brock at Pizitz middle school for the image http://www.quia.com/pages/brockgifted6.html

The results of a research project by Northwestern University, published in July 2015, suggest that music training, begun as late as high school, may help improve the teenage brain’s responses to sound and sharpen hearing and language skills.

The research indicates that music instruction helps enhance skills that are critical for academic success. The gains were seen during group music classes included in the schools’ curriculum, suggesting in-school training accelerates neurodevelopment.

Professor Nina Kraus, director of Northwestern’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at the School of Communication, and her colleagues recruited 40 Chicago-area high school freshmen (14-15 years-old) in a study that began shortly before school started, and followed them until their last senior year (18-19 years old). Nearly half the students had enrolled in band classes, which involved two to three hours a week of instrumental group music instruction in school. The rest had enrolled in Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), which focused on fitness. Both groups attended the same schools in low-income neighbourhoods.

All participants improved in language skills, but the improvement was greater for those in music classes, compared with the JROTC group. According to the authors of the report, high school music training might hone brain development and improve language skills. The stable processing of sound details, important for language skills, is known to be diminished in children raised in poverty, raising the possibility that music education may offset this negative influence on sound processing.

SOURCES:
Northwestern University: http://www.brainvolts.northwestern.edu/documents/Tierney_Krizman_Kraus_PNAS_2015.pdf
The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/07/21/the-science-of-why-music-improves-our-memory-and-verbal-intelligence/?postshare=611437745950827

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: BRAIN DEVELOPMENT & LANGUAGE SKILLS
TARGET GROUP: YOUNG PEOPLE
AGE: 14-19 YEARS
MUSIC TYPE: INSTRUMENTAL BAND CLASS
TYPE OF STUDY: ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: 40
PERIOD OF STUDY: 4-5 YEARS
DATE: 2015
PLACE: USA

Learning music gives you biological advantages

Musicians biological differences research paperA study by Dr Nina Krauss and Dana L Strait at Northwestern University concludes that musician children and adults who make music demonstrate biological distinctions in auditory processing when compared with non-musicians.

For example, musician children and adults have more robust neural encoding of speech harmonics, more adaptive sound processing, and more precise neural encoding of acoustically similar sounds; these enhancements may make musicians better at hearing speech in amongst noise (see also this post here about focused attention), and reading.

Although it isn’t possible to separate the effects from the demographic and innate qualities that may pre-distinguish musicians, because the lab works with community music programmes involving a wide range of young people including those in challenging circumstances, the outcomes indicate that many of musicians’ auditory-related biological enhancements can develop through musical training and so this may well promote the acquisition of language skills, including in ‘at-risk’ populations.

SOURCES:
Brainvolts (Northwestern University): http://www.brainvolts.northwestern.edu/documents/Kraus_Strait_NYAS_2015.pdf

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT
TARGET GROUP: CHILDREN & ADOLESCENTS
AGE: 5-16 YEARS
MUSIC TYPE: GENERAL
TYPE OF STUDY: ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: 69
PERIOD OF STUDY: ONGOING
DATE: 2014
PLACE: USA