Music therapy

Musicians maintain better brain connectivity even in resting state.

Music learning is a multisensory motor experience that usually begins at an early age. Playing an instrument requires several skills: the rapid reading of a complex symbolic system (most often simultaneous in different “keys”, as with the piano), its translation to a sequential motor bimanual activity that is feedbacked by a return Multisensorial on the produced notes and the accompanying emotionality that accompanies the interpretation.

Although we are not fully aware of the musical interpretation, unlike other motor activities, it requires a perfect synchronization of various actions organized hierarchically along with an obvious control of tonal production. All this implies a special dedication of the cognitive functions, among them, the attention. For this reason, it is not too surprising that musicians’ brains accuse certain structural changes, with a higher density of gray matter, in those brain areas related to musical production (for example, the auditory and / or motor area). But it is surprising that changes are detected in other areas, in principle not directly related to the strictly musical ones, such as the lower frontal gyrus.

Such findings suggest that plasticity can occur well in those regions that have direct control over primary musical functions, as well as in those that act as areas of multimodal integration for musical abilities, possibly as a mechanism of mediation or transfer to others Specifically musical.

A recent study by Chinese researchers (Luo et al., 2012) measured, through neuroimaging, brain activity at rest (without performing any task) in musicians, in comparison with non-musicians, concluding that in the former there was an increase Of connectivity in the motor and multisensory areas. This demonstrates the long-term influence of musical learning on functional brain connectivity. For musicians, therefore, the motor and multisensory areas are better equipped for a joint operation which can have a better predisposition or ease of processing in other non-specifically musical fields. Once again, solid arguments are presented on the benefits of musical learning that policymakers should seriously consider to prioritize music as a mandatory cross-curricular issue given its positive effect on brain development.

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