learning an instrument

Learning an instrument improves motor and auditory skills

Playing pianoAnother study has shown that learning an instrument (in this case, for just 15 months) affects young people’s motor and auditory skills.

Researchers from institutions in Canada (Montreal and Toronto) and the USA (Boston) recruited students with no previous training and assigned them to one of two groups. The first group – instrumental music – received weekly half-hour private keyboard classes for about 15 months. The second group – the control group – did not receive instrumental music training, but participated in music classes in school for 40 minutes a week.

Investigators assessed students using a series of motor and auditory tests and brain imaging. The results demonstrated that after 15 months of instrumental music training, students showed brain changes in areas associated with motor and auditory skills.

The researchers were from the following institutions: McConnell Brain Imaging Center, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal; Mouse Imaging Centre, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto; Department of Psychology, Boston College, Massachusetts; Music and Neuroimaging Laboratory, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

SOURCES:

The Journal of Neuroscience: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/29/10/3019.full.pdf
ArtsEdSearch: http://www.artsedsearch.org/summaries/musical-training-shapes-structural-brain-development

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: BRAIN DEVELOPMENT
TARGET GROUP: CHILDREN
AGE: 6-YEARS-OLD
MUSIC TYPE: KEYBOARD & GENERAL
TYPE OF STUDY: ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: 31
PERIOD OF STUDY: 15 MONTHS
DATE: 2009
PLACE: CANADA & USA

Playing a musical instrument could help with anxiety, behaviour, and attention

Learning a musical instrument

Photographer: Malcolm Pollock

The longest study of its kind has shown that musical training could help children to reduce feelings of anxiety, gain a greater control of their emotions and give a stronger focus to their attention. The study was led by Dr. James Hudziak, professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, and the participants were part of the National Institutes of Health Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of Normal Brain Development. The results of the study were published by the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.  The authors of the study analysed the brain scans of 232 children aged 6-18, and found that playing music altered the behaviour-regulating and motor areas of the brain.

SOURCES:

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/01/07/music-lessons-spur-emotional-and-behavioral-growth-in-children-new-study-says/

Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: http://www.jaacap.com/article/S0890-8567(14)00578-4/abstract and http://www.jaacap.com/article/S0890-8567(14)00613-3/abstract

Medical News Today: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287458.php

Daily Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11315500/Children-with-mental-health-issues-should-learn-the-violin.html

Classic FM: http://www.classicfm.com/music-news/latest-news/playing-instrument-helps-children-anxiety/

The Strad: http://www.thestrad.com/cpt-latests/study-finds-musical-training-may-focus-attention-reduce-anxiety-children/

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: Behaviour regulation – reduced anxiety
TARGET GROUP: Young people
AGE: 6-18 years
MUSIC TYPE: Learning a musical instrument
TYPE OF STUDY: Academic research
NOs INVOLVED: 232
PERIOD OF STUDY: 6 years
DATE: 2014
PLACE: United States