Benefits of Musical Training on Cognitive Function and Emotional Well-Being

Musical training enhances auditory processing, leading to better verbal skills and increased reading ability:

  • Adults who had musical training as a child (but did not necessarily continue playing music as an adult) still have better brainstem responses to sound.  This indicates that changes in the brain in response to early musical training are long-lasting.(Skoe and Kraus, 2012)
  • University students with musical training before the age of 12 had better verbal memory  than people with no musical training (Chan et al., 1998)
  • Children  with at least 3 years of musical training performed better on vocabulary tests than children with no musical training.There was a positive correlation between duration of musical study and performance on test; in other words, the longer the child had studied music, the more likely she was to do well on the vocabulary test. (Forgeard et al., 2008)
Musical training leads to increased spatial and mathematical abilities:
  • Children given 6 months of piano training had improved spatial-temporal reasoning abilities and were faster at learning proportional math concepts taught in a video-game format. ( Graziano et al.,1999)
  • Musicians doing mental math use different parts of the brain than non-musicians:  there is more activation in the left fusiform gyrus (used for shape processing) and the left prefrontal cortex (which is the site for working memory). (Schmidthorst and Holland, 2004)
Musical training leads to improvements in executive function:  attention, discipline, and working memory:
  •  Children given twenty sessions of musical training over a month showed an improvement on an executive function task testing working memory and response inhibition. (Moreno et al., 2011)
  • Musical training leads to improvements in working memory (Bergman Nutley et al., 2013)
Making music improves mood, decreases levels of stress hormones, and boosts the immune system:

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  • Choir singers, after rehearsing, have increased levels of immune system markers, decreased levels of stress hormones, and better mood. (Beck et al., 2000; Kreutz et al., 2004)
  • Singers after a singing lesson report feeling more joyful, relaxed and energetic. (Grape et al., 2003)

Source: http://www.trainingthemusicalbrain.com

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