Music and the Brain
During musical performance, mental processes entail split-second evaluations and adjustments that enhance fine motor skills and strengthen synapses, allowing the brain to function more efficiently. (1, 13-15)
Musical performance activates multiple areas of the cerebral cortex and integrates the activities of the brain's left and right hemispheres, the aesthetic and the rational, united by the corpus callosum. (1, 6)
Studies have found that the brain's corpus callosum and planum temporale are more developed in musicians, reinforcing the concept that music enlarges neural pathways to stimulate learning and enhances phonological awareness. (3-5)
The study of music also develops accurate sound and speech processing, enhances IQ, improves retention of verbal memory and can help shape brain structure, with the most pronounced enhancements in those beginning their musical training early in life. (7-12)
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“Music of the Hemispheres”, James Shreeve, Discover, October 1996
“Sweet Taste in Music May Be Human Trait, Harvard Study Finds”, Richard A. Knox, Boston Globe, September 1996
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- Nina Kraus and Erika Skoe, “A Little Goes a Long Way: How the Adult Brain Is Shaped by Musical Training in Childhood”, The Journal of Neuroscience, April 2012
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- Pallesen, K.J., et al. (2010). Cognitive Control in Auditory Working Memory Is Enhanced in Musicians. PloS ONE 5(6); e11120.
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- Ho.Y., et al. (2003). Music Training Improves Verbal but Not Visual Memory: Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Explorations in Children, Neuropsychology, 17(3), 439-450.
- Foregard, M., et al. (2008). Practicing a Musical Instrument in Childhood is Associated with Enhanced Verbal Ability and Nonverbal Reasoning. PloS One 3(10); e3566
- Hyde, K.L., et al, (2009). Musical Training Shapes Structural Brain Development, The Journal of Neuroscience, 29(10), 3019-3025.
- Schlaug, G., et al. (2005). Effects of Music Training on Chlidren’s Brain and Cognitive Development. In S.D. Lipscomb, et al (Eds.), Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Music Perception & Cognition (pp.133-134). Adelaide, Australia; Causal Productions