Childhood music lessons boost brain
Learning a musical instrument as a child gives the brain a boost that lasts into adulthood, according to research published in The Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers say that even if adults haven’t played an instrument in decades, they still tend to have a faster brain response to speech sounds.
The more years of practice, the faster the brain responded, according to the study. For the research, scientists analyzed 44 people in their 50s, 60s and 70s. Volunteers listened to a synthesized speech syllable, while researchers measured electrical activity in the brain that processes sound information.
None of the participants had played an instrument in almost 40 years, but, those who had completed between four and 14 years of music training early in their life had a faster response to speech sound, compared to those who had never been taught music.
As people get older, they experience changes in the brain that compromise hearing, such as slower response to fast-changing sounds, which is important to understand speech. Music training early in life may offset this.
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