Benefits of musically trained children
Learning to play an instrument appears to benefit the brain and is associated with improved attention and memory in children trained in music. This pleads in favor of musical education for all children.
Children playing musical instruments show improvement in their attention and memory. (Image: Pixel-Shot / Stock.Adobe.com)
Children trained in music show improved performance in the areas of attention and memory, according to the result of the new study with the participation of researchers from the Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago. The study was published in the English-language journal “Frontiers in Neuroscience”.
Half of the children have received musical training
For the study, the attention and working memory of 40 Chilean children aged ten to thirteen were analyzed. Twenty of them played an instrument, had received music lessons for at least two years, practiced at least two hours a week, and performed regularly in an orchestra or ensemble.
The remaining twenty children formed the control group. These children were recruited from public schools in Santiago and had not received any musical education other than that provided for in the school curriculum.
Children’s brain activity was measured
Attention and working memory were determined using specific tasks. During these tasks, children’s brain activity was measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging. The researchers noticed small changes in the blood flow in the brain. There was no difference in reaction time between the two groups. However, children trained in music performed much better in the memory task, the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience reports of the study results.
Benefits of a music education
Children trained in music showed better attention and memory performance and higher activation in areas of the brain related to attention control and auditory coding. Executive functions are known to be associated with improved reading, greater resilience, greater creativity and better quality of life, the researchers report. Experts believe that musical training increases the functional activity of affected brain networks.
Other objectives of the research group
The next step of the project is to determine the causality of the mechanisms that have been identified to improve attention and working memory. The research group is aiming for a longitudinal study of music education in children, in which attention and working memory are assessed. The possibility of musical training for intervention in children with ADHD should also be explored.
Do parents have to register their children for music lessons?
The researchers recommend that children also have musical training. Not only because positive effects on cognitive functions are possible, but rather because it is a demanding activity, pleasant and which offers the possibility of learning the universal language of music, add the experts. (as)
Author and source information
This text conforms to the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Leonie Kausel, Francisco Zamorano, Pablo Billeke, Mary E. Sutherland, Josefina Larrain-Valenzuela et al .: Neural Dynamics of Improved Bimodal Attention and Working Memory in Musically Trained Children, in Frontiers in Neuroscience (published, Frontiers in Neuroscience Frontiers in Neuroscience: Musical training can improve attention and working memory in children – study (published October 8, 2020), Frontiers in Neuroscience
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.