Effects of music on brain development: music would support brain development
If you started learning music in preschool or regularly listened to music from the nursery, you can thank your parents and teachers. Both learnings that you may be loved or hated, contributed positively to the development of your brain. The more music is discovered early, the better the brain connections of the individual are.
This is the conclusion of the Journal of Neuroscience in an article that explains that musical practice before the age of 7 years has significant effects on brain development, showing that these people have better connections between brain regions responsible for motor functions, parts of the brain that help us to plan and perform movements…
This research was conducted by students in the laboratory of Professor Penhume, Concordia University, in collaboration with Robert J. Zatorre, a researcher at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University.
What age shall we start learning music ?
The study provides evidences showing that the period of 6 to 8 years is a “sensitive period” during which musical practice interacts with the natural development of the brain to achieve lasting changes in brain structure and motor skills. Mrs Penhume comments that learning a musical instrument requires the coordination of both hands in visual or auditory stimuli functions. Play an instrument before the age of seven accelerates the maturation of connections between the motor and sensory regions of the brain creating a framework on which a continuous practice can build.
Study on the effects of music on brain development description
Professors and their teams have tested 36 musicians and asked them to make a move while their brains were scanned. Half of the tested musicians had started music before the age of seven, while the other half at a later age. On the other hand, musicians in both groups made music for the same number of years. These two groups were also compared to people who received little or no musical training.
Observations on musicians who started music before 7 years old
Comparing the motor skills of the two groups, musicians that began before 7 years are faster even after two days of training of the other group and comparing their brain structure, the musicians that began earlier have a more powerful white matter in the corpus callosum, a bundle of nerve fibers that connect the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The researchers were able to determine that the younger a musician began, the more developed is the connectivity.
Observations on musicians who started music later
It is interesting to consider that the brains of musicians who started later and non-musicians showed no difference in scanner, suggesting that the analyzed developments occur early or do not occur. And as the task tested in the study is not related to music, the study also suggests that the benefits of the practice of music at less than seven years extend beyond the ability to play an instrument.
Conclusions of the study on the effects of music and brain development
According to co-author of the study, Dr. Zatorre, this study is significant because it shows that instrumental practice is more effective at an early age because some aspects of brain anatomy are more sensitive to changes in this period of life.
Dr. Penthume adds a nuance: “It is important to remember that the musicians of the age of seven have specific skills and show differences in their brain that are linked to them. But that does not necessarily make them better musicians. Musical performance depends on these skills, but also on communication, enthusiasm, style and many other factors that are not taken into account in the study. The early beginning will probably help you to become a genius, but it does allow you may not express this genius. “
If you still are not sure to enroll your children in violin lessons or if you postpone the time to do it, it is important to evaluate the numerous benefits of music in children and it is better to start as soon as possible, even if your aim is not to make a professional musician.