Music and the Brain

Children at N.Y. Zoo (LOC) 
                               Children at N.Y. Zoo (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

If you thought music was just a means of entertainment, you are in for a surprise. Recent studies show that there is in fact a lot to music than what meets the “ear”.

In recent years many acoustic experts and researchers have carried out experiments to show a correlation between brain function, cognition and music. One such experiment studied and compared the brain responses and sound recognition of pre-school children who were being trained in music to those who were not. It was observed that children who received musical training not only had better sound recognition but their auditory cortex appeared modified in comparison to the other group. The children also demonstrated enhancement in memory and attention level in comparison to the non-musical group.

Musical training is also observed to have a remarkable impact on children suffering from dyslexia. Training in music is believed to act as remedy for their language deficits. Along with cognition and memory, music training also improves nonverbal reasoning and verbal ability. Although this may be true, music does not enhance creativity or IQ level.

Now when it comes to passively listening to music, it may not be as effective as getting trained in music, but it nevertheless, still proves quite beneficial. Between the age of 10 and 13 listening to music is observed to have the greatest effect since at that age the sensitivity towards speech acquisition is quite high.

Contributed by Sneha Shenoy

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