Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Musical training enhances linguistic abilities in children

An interesting report from Moreno et al. in the journal Cerebral Cortex. They:
...conducted a longitudinal study with 32 nonmusician children over 9 months to determine 1) whether functional differences between musician and nonmusician children reflect specific predispositions for music or result from musical training and 2) whether musical training improves nonmusical brain functions such as reading and linguistic pitch processing. Event-related brain potentials were recorded while 8-year-old children performed tasks designed to test the hypothesis that musical training improves pitch processing not only in music but also in speech. Following the first testing sessions nonmusician children were pseudorandomly assigned to music or to painting training for 6 months and were tested again after training using the same tests. After musical (but not painting) training, children showed enhanced reading and pitch discrimination abilities in speech. Remarkably, 6 months of musical training thus suffices to significantly improve behavior and to influence the development of neural processes as reflected in specific pattern of brain waves. These results reveal positive transfer from music to speech and highlight the influence of musical training. Finally, they demonstrate brain plasticity in showing that relatively short periods of training have strong consequences on the functional organization of the children's brain.


  1. Anonymous9:36 AM

    Just another reason for me to appreciate the Suzuki lessons both my children had for 15 years! And is this why both my children (who are now just about grown) talk so much?!

  2. Anonymous4:00 PM

    Thank you so much for posting this! I've reposted on my blog and credited you for bringing it to my attention.

  3. Anonymous9:58 PM

    I guess I don't understand the painting part of it. Is it because painting and music are both considered art forms? Art performance? What?

    I do both activities and they are quite different.

    I guess what I am asking is, why painting? Why not dog walking?