Children's Brain Develop Faster With Exposure To Music, Study Proves

First Posted: Jun 15, 2016 11:23 AM EDT

Exposure to music and music instruction accelerate the brain development of young children. The development mostly touches the part in the areas of the brain that are responsible for language development, sound, reading skill and speech perception.
The study was led by the researchers from the Brain and Creativity at USC in partnership with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Associations and Heart of Los Angeles. It was a five-year study and began in 2012. It examines and analyzes the impact of music instruction on children's cognitive, emotional and social development.

The study was printed in the journal Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Assal Habibi, the lead author of the study and a senior research associate at the BCI in USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences stated that the results of the study reflect the children with music training, compared with the two other comparison groups, and were more accurate in processing sound.

In the study, there was a group of 37 children from a underprivileged neighborhood of Los Angeles, who were monitored by the neuroscientists. Thirteen of them, aged 6 or 7 received music instruction through the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles Program at HOLA. They learn to play the musical instrument such as violin in YOLA. They practiced up to seven hours each week.

Other participants in the study involved 11 children in a community soccer program. They compared the three groups with the children who were engaged in music. The researchers used the tools such as EEG to track the electrical activity in the brains, behavioral testing and other such techniques and the MRI to monitor changes through the brain scans.

The results after a two-year study showed that the auditory systems of the children in the music program accelerate than in another group of children who were not engaged in music. Habibi explained that the auditory system is stimulated by music and the system is also engaged in general sound processing.

This is essential to reading skills, language development and successful communication. After two years the children were asked to measure their abilities to recognize tones such as piano tones, violin tones, and single frequency tone played.They were also able to recognize similar and different melodies.

The findings revealed that children in the orchestra program were more accurate at recognizing pitch changes in the melodies than the other groups. All the groups identified easily the melodies. On the other hand, the children with music training had smaller PI potential amplitude compared to other children. This indicates a faster rate of maturation.

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