Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Music helps to improve kids learning

Advocating the introduction of music classes into school curriculum, a new research has states that learning to play musical instruments has positive effects on the brain and it helps children improve their learning and understanding of language. The research, which is a review of several studies on the benefits of music, suggested that connections between brain cells are established during musical training that can help in other forms of communication, such as speech, reading and understanding a foreign language.

"The effect of music training suggests that, akin to physical exercise and its impact on body fitness, music is a resource that tones the brain for auditory fitness," said the researchers, at the Northwestern University (NU) in Illinois, who carried out the review.

They said, the studies showed that society should "re-examine the role of music in shaping individual development" and schools should consider boosting efforts to incorporate musical training into the curriculum, LiveScience reported.

Studies have shown such training leads to changes in the brain's auditory system. For example, pianists show more brain activity in their auditory cortex -- the part of the brain responsible for processing sounds -- than non-musicians in response to hearing piano notes.

Musicians also have larger brain volumes in areas essential for playing a musical instrument, including motor and auditory regions, the researchers said. They found that these advantages of music training appear to cross over to our understanding of speech.

Speech and Music have quite a bit in common. They both use pitch and timing to get information across, and both call for memory and attention skills to process, they said. Some studies proved that children with musical training have more neural activity in response to changes in pitch during speech than those without such training.


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