Northwestern University Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory

Music training develops neural mechanisms needed for focused attention

Auditory brain image

Diagram from the Auditory Neuroscience lab of Northwestern University

 

Attention is a critically important aspect of education. Learners are constantly bombarded by a barrage of sounds and distractions, even in a quiet classroom, and so being able to focus attention has a direct correlation with your ability to learn and to enhance your performance. A study by researchers led by Dr Nina Kraus of Northwestern University suggests that music training can help people’s auditory attention to mature during pivotal developmental years and is believed to provide the first direct evidence of a ‘biological index for enhanced selective auditory attention in young musicians’. The researchers say that is an important consideration for educators and educational policy-makers involved in curriculum design.

SOURCES:

Brainvolts (Northwestern University): http://www.brainvolts.northwestern.edu/documents/Strait_DCN_2015.pdf

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT, ATTENTION
TARGET GROUP: CHILDREN & ADULTS
AGE: 3-35 YEARS
MUSIC TYPE: GENERAL
TYPE OF STUDY: ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: 78
PERIOD OF STUDY: Unknown
DATE: 2014, published Jan 2015
PLACE: USA

Dr Nina Kraus interviewed about the effects of music on the brain

 

Dr. Nina Kraus discusses ongoing work in the Auditory Neuroscience Lab examining the benefits of music making on the brain. See also the following pages on this website:

Music can help close the achievement gap between poor and affluent young people

Active participation in music can rewire young people’s brains

Search under ‘Nina Kraus’ in the search bar at the top of this website for the latest updates from her research.

Active participation in music can rewire young people’s brains

In Harmony students

Photo of In Harmony students – with permission of Dr Nina Kraus

Dr Nina Kraus’s longitudinal study into the effects of music training on disadvantaged young people in Los Angeles , has been looking at the importance of active participation in music.

The research concludes that the level of participation – attendance at classes, practice – affects the changes that result in the brain and the related reading scores.

SOURCE:

Time Magazine: http://time.com/3634995/study-kids-engaged-music-class-for-benefits-northwestern/#