Music for a healthy brain
In this article José A. Rodríguez for Consumer Eroski we outline the benefits of music during childhood helps alternative connections forming in the brain of children. One factor that also allows to improve cognitive performance in other areas apart from the musical. In addition, recent research indicates that music lessons in childhood can become one of the best investments for the future health of the elderly brain and cognitive loss offset own aging.
Extensive research has shown that listening to music during childhood or receive music lessons has a significant positive effect for cognitive and social development of children. A study by scientists at the Northwester University, USA, showed that music training generates neuronal connections that improve other aspects of communication. For this reason, children who study music have a larger vocabulary and better readability.
Beneficial for the brain
But receiving a musical training during childhood can have benefits also many years later. According to an analysis by psychologists Medical Center of the University of Kansas (USA), and published by the American Psychiatric Association, receive music lessons in childhood helps the future elderly enjoy better cognitive functioning. The music studio helps create alternate connections in the brain that cancels own cognitive decline of aging For this study, researchers distributed to 70 people between 60 and 83 years of age into three groups based on their musical experience. One group was the people who had not received any musical training. Another consisted of elderly who had begun to study music in childhood and had been trained for less than nine years. And in the third group were the elders who had studied music at least ten years.
All participants had a level of education and physical state of similar and had no signs of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, those who had received some kind of musical training had started studying music at the age of ten or so. Regarding the type of instruments, more than half had received piano lessons, while nearly a quarter of the participants had learned to play wind instruments. And several were formed on percussion.
With music, a brain with more memory
Participants had to perform cognitive performance tests. The researchers wanted to assess cognitive functions tend to decline with age and worsen when some form of dementia suffer.
Elders who had received some musical training performed better than those who had not. Also, people who had more years of musical education were the generally outperformed especially on tests of visual memory, in naming objects and cognitive flexibility (the ability of the mind to suit new information).Brenda Hanna-Pladdy, lead author of the study, says, “make a musical activity throughout life is a challenging cognitive exercise that helps the brain to better face the problems of aging. Also, since the study of a musical instrument requires years of practice, certainly it favors the creation of alternative connections in the brain that cancels own cognitive decline of aging.
For a healthy brain, the more years of musical education
In view of the results of this study you do not need to play an instrument lifetime to benefit from music lessons received during childhood. Half of the research participants who had received musical training who did not practice for years. And got the same good results that people who had been playing all his life. So, as researchers believe, it seems that are most important years of musical education received in childhood continue playing an instrument lifetime.
Other benefits of musical training during childhood
Beyond the increase in cognitive performance in various fields, learn music in childhood provides a number of other benefits to psychological and social level:
It helps improve the ability to concentrate.
children who play in bands or orchestras learn to work in teams, fostering values such as cooperation and solidarity.
music is a pleasurable activity that also can be very relaxing.
studying a musical instrument builds self-esteem.