We’ve all heard that learning music can make you smarter. But is this really true? The evidence continues to pile up. Two recent studies show that music training improves the brain’s ability to remember and process information, and also to respond to speech, even in the presence of background noise.
In a recent study at the Boston Children’s Hospital, children and adults with musical training were found to have greater capacity for working memory, could process information faster, and had higher verbal skills. These “executive functions” of the brain are very important in decision-making and learning.
Another study from Northwestern University tested the ability of people’s brains to recognize and respond to speech in the presence of background noise. They found that adults with four or more years of musical training had a faster response, even if they had only studied music as a child and hadn’t played an instrument in years.
It should come as no surprise that studying music helps the brain to grow and develop in measurable ways. Music requires the mind and the body to work together, to process auditory information and modify body movement to achieve a desired result. It expands the memory as sounds and symbols are learned and linked together. Challenging a child’s mind with music creates a lifetime of benefit, not only in giving them the ability to create music, but in mental skills that affect all aspects of life.