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Music Helps to Enhance Certain Functions of Brain, says New Study

Are you sick of your teenage children’s loud music playing habit? And are you planning to find ways to stop them from doing that? Then this new study might make you rethink as it shows how music helps to enhance a teenager’s brain responses to sound and sharpen hearing and language skills.


Photo Credit: Stilfehler

A research team from Northwestern University lead by Nina Kraus who is the director of Northwestern’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory found that offering music training in groups, included in a school curriculum enhances the process of neurodevelopment.

Kraus explained that music programmes that “are often the first to be cut when the school budget is tight” might have changed future from now on as their findings throw light on the importance of music in curriculum of high school.

For the research, Krauss collected 40 high school freshmen from Chicago and began the study right before their school commenced. They monitored these children longitudinally until they reached their senior year.

Of these 40 students, almost half of them registered themselves to band classes that comprised of two-three hours of instrumental group music lectures, a week in school. While, the rest registered themselves to the junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) that comprised of fitness activities during an equal period of time. Both the groups, belonging to low-income neighborhoods attended the same school.

Electrode observed children at the beginning of the study and three years later, at the end of the study. It was found that the children who attended the music group experienced faster development in the brain’s reaction to sound.

Nevertheless, the research team also determined extended brain sensitivity to sound and discovered that all the participants improved in language skills are associated with sound-structure awareness. However, the improvements were better for the children in music groups, in comparison to the ROTC group.

The researchers said that music training in high-school might refine development of brain and improve language skills. Kraus stated, “Although learning to play music does not teach skills that seem directly relevant to most careers the results suggest that music may engender what educators refer to as ‘learning to learn’.”

The study further discovered that the steady processing of sound details, which are significant for language skills, is known to have decreased among children who grow up in poverty. It raises the probability that music education may balance this negative impact.

The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


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