Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Music and the Brain

Did you know that playing a musical instrument changes both the anatomy and functions of the brain? Some have wondered, however, whether or not these changes persist after music training stops. Researchers studied this question by measuring auditory brainstem responses in a cohort of healthy young human adults with varying amounts of past musical training. Study results showed that adults who received formal music instruction as children have more robust brainstem responses to sound than peers who never participated in music lessons and that the magnitude of the response correlates with how recently training ceased. This indicated that neural changes accompanying musical training during childhood are retained in adulthood. According to researchers Erika Skoe and Nina Krause, these findings advance the understanding of long-term neuroplasticity and have general implications for the development of effective auditory training programs.

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