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Health Benefits of Learning Piano and Singing

Physical Benefits

Health benefits of playing piano and singing

Benefits for the Mind

Playing piano and singing

Emotional Benefits of Music

Benefits of playing piano and singing

by Richard Baldwin

Articles and Blogs:

(Note: Articles are from linked sources and content is not affiliated with Baldwin Studios.)

Does Playing a Musical Instrument Make You Smarter?

Neuroscientists identify a link between musical training and executive function.

A new study from Boston Children's Hospital found a correlation between musical training and improved executive function in both children and adults. Previous studies have identified a link between musical training and cognitive abilities, but few have looked specifically at the effects of early musical training on executive function.

Executive functions (EF) are described as high-level cognitive processes that enable people to quickly process and retain information, regulate their behaviors, make good choices, solve problems, plan and adjust to changing mental demands. Another component of EF is having cognitive flexibility as represented by the ability to adjust to novel or changing tasks on demand.

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Musical Training Optimizes Brain Function

Musical Training Optimizes Brain Function" I write about previous research that found musical training can cause fundamental changes in both the structure and function of a young person's brain.

Three Brain Benefits of Musical Training:

  1. Musicians have an enhanced ability to integrate sensory information from hearing, touch, and sight.

  2. Beginning training before the age of seven has been shown to have the greatest impact. The age at which musical training begins affects brain anatomy as an adult.

  3. Brain circuits involved in musical improvisation are shaped by systematic training, leading to less reliance on working memory and more extensive connectivity within the brain.

Adult musicians and musically trained children in the new Boston study showed enhanced performance on several aspects of executive functioning. On MRI, 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.

More specifically these brain areas included: the supplementary motor area, the pre-supplementary area and the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. All of these brain regions have been linked to executive function. Interestingly, enhanced brain activation was also apparent within other brain regions that are not traditionally directly linked to executive function including the insula and cerebellum.

A May 2014 study from the University of Liverpool found that musical training can increase the blood flow in the left hemisphere of the brain. This suggests that the areas responsible for music and language might share common brain pathways.

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Musical Training Might Improve Academic Achievement

The researchers at Boston Children's Hospital conclude that children and adults with extensive musical training show enhanced executive function when compared to non-musicians, especially for cognitive flexibility, working memory, and processing speed.

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Music and health

Harvard Health Publications - Harvard Medical School

Music is a fundamental attribute of the human species. Virtually all cultures, from the most primitive to the most advanced, make music. It's been true through history, and it's true throughout an individual's lifespan. In tune or not, we humans sing and hum; in time or not, we clap and sway; in step or not, we dance and bounce.

The human brain and nervous system are hard-wired to distinguish music from noise and to respond to rhythm and repetition, tones and tunes. Is this a biologic accident, or does it serve a purpose? It's not possible to say. Still, a varied group of studies suggests that music may enhance human health and performance.

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