Can music lessons in childhood boost brainpower for life?

18th June 2014

We love finding new studies on the impact music has on cognitive function, and we've seen another hitting headlines today. Researchers found that children who undertook early musical training were better at quickly processing and retaining information and problem solving. 


Gaab and colleagues compared 15 musically trained children, 9 to 12, with a control group of 12 untrained children of the same age. 

  • Musically trained children had to have played an instrument for at least two years in regular private music lessons. 
  • On average, the children had played for 5.2 years and practiced 3.7 hours per week, starting at the age of 5.9.
  • The researchers similarly compared 15 adults who were active professional musicians with 15 non-musicians. 
  • Both control groups had no musical training beyond general school requirements.

What were the results? 

  • On cognitive testing, adult musicians and musically trained children showed enhanced performance on several aspects of executive functioning. 
  • On fMRI, the children with musical training showed enhanced activation of specific areas of the prefrontal cortex during a test that made them switch between mental tasks.

Read the full story here 


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