How learning music changes children’s brains?

Music instruction appears to accelerate brain development in young children, particularly in the areas of the brain responsible for processing sound, language development, speech perception and reading skills, according to initial results of a five-year study by USC neuroscientists.

Learning music increases neurological connections in little ones, which improves cognitive abilities.

In fact, it has been found that listening to or playing music in childhood improves concentration and motor skills and stimulates extraverbal communication, as well as enhancing imagination, creativity, and language.

It can help patients with hyperactivity or autism.

Listening to music can be great, but learning to make it is even better, especially in the early years.

Research presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) suggests that taking music classes increases neurological connections in children’s brains and may even be helpful in treating disorders such as hyperactivity, attention deficit, or autism

“We knew that musical instruction benefits children, but this study has given us a better understanding of how changes occur in the brain,” explains Pilar Dies-Suárez, chief radiologist at the Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez in Ciudad de México. Mexico.

The researchers studied 23 healthy children between the ages of five and six.

All were right-handed and had no history of sensory, neurological, or perceptual disorders.

None had been trained in artistic disciplines before.

Before and after the new musical training, the minors underwent an advanced MRI technique, called diffusion tensor, which identifies microstructural changes in the white matter of the brain.

The white matter of the brain is made up of millions of nerve fibers called axons that act as communication cables connecting different regions of the brain.

The diffusion tensor produces a measure, called fractional anisotropy, of the movement of extracellular water molecules between axons.

If the brain is healthy, the direction of these water molecules is fairly uniform and gives high measurements of fractional anisotropy.

When the movement is more random, the values ​​decrease, suggesting anomalies.

Throughout life, the maturation of the cerebral tracts and the connections between the motor and auditory areas, etc., allow the development of numerous cognitive abilities, including musical abilities.

Previous studies have linked disorders such as autism and attention deficit with decreased volume and fiber connections in some areas located in the frontal cortex of the brain.

That suggests that low connectivity in the frontal cortex, a brain area involved in complex cognitive processes, is a biomarker for these disorders.

Improvements in nine months

After the children in the study completed nine months of music instruction using Boomwhackers percussion tubes, the diffusion tensor showed an increase in fractional anisotropy and fiber length of axons in different areas of the brain.

“When a child receives musical instruction, his brain is asked to complete certain tasks,” says the researcher.

“These tasks involve social, emotion, cognition, motor and auditory skills, which seem to activate these different areas in the brain.

These results may have occurred due to the need to create more connections between the two hemispheres of the brain.”

The researchers believe that the results of the study can help in the creation of specific strategies for the treatment of disorders such as autism or attention deficit.

How does music affect children’s learning?

Increases memory capacity, attention, and concentration of childrenImproves the ability to solve complex mathematical and reasoning problems. It offers a new way of expression. Introduces children to the sounds and meanings of words and strengthens learning.

How does music affect our brain?

With music, we manage to activate the two hemispheres of the brain and create more connections between them. The left hemisphere is in charge of the most logical part, reasoning, numbers, language, etc. On the other hand, the right hemisphere manages the most intuitive, imaginative, and creative functions.

How does music promote learning?

Music has a great impact on children ‘s learning, it works as a teaching method that generates a better atmosphere in the classroom.
  1. Strengthens memory, learning, concentration, and creativity.
  2. Help people with dyslexia problems.
  3. Reduces stress, calms anxiety, and controls insomnia.

In itself, music has a brain development function: it generates pleasure (through the release of dopamine), relaxes, and exacerbates emotions, just to mention a few. But in adolescence, specifically, it plays a very important role and that has to do with human development, identity.

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