Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
Music & Intelligence: Will Listening to Music Make You Smarter? > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

Music & Intelligence: Will Listening to Music Make You Smarter?

Will listening to music make you smarter? Will learning to play a musical instrument make your brain grow larger than normal?

Questions like these ones have been popping up all over the place in the past few years, and not just in scientific journals either.

In recent times the media has been fascinated by the research surrounding brain development and music, eagerly reporting on the latest studies to the delight of the music-loving parents of young children.

But all this information - and some misinformation too - has led to generalized confusion about the role of music and music training in the development of the human brain. The bottom line is this: if you're confused by all you read about music study and brain development, you're certainly not alone.

In part, this is due to the manner in which the phrase "the Mozart Effect" has been popularized by the media and bandied about to describe any situation in which music has a positive effect on cognition or behavior.

In fact the Mozart Effect refers specifically to a 1993 research finding by Frances Rauscher, Gordon Shaw and Katherine Ky and published in the prestigious journal Nature. The scientists found that 36 college students who listened to 10 minutes of a Mozart sonata performed higher on a subsequent spatial-temporal task than after they listened to relaxation instructions or silence.

An enchanted media reported this interesting research as "Mozart makes you smarter" - a huge over-simplification of the original results.

As Rauscher explains in a later paper, the Mozart Effect was studied only in adults, lasted only for a few minutes and was found only for spatial temporal reasoning. Nevertheless, the finding has since launched an industry that includes books, CDs and websites claiming that listening to classical music can make children more intelligent.

The scientific controversy - not to mention the popular confusion - surrounding the Mozart Effect, has given rise to a corresponding perplexity for parents. They wonder: "Should my kids even bother with music education?"

In fact the answer to this question is still a resounding yes, since numerous research studies do prove that studying music contributes unequivocally to the positive development of the human brain. Other researchers have since replicated the original 1993 finding that listening to Mozart improves spatial reasoning. And further research by Rauscher and her colleagues in 1994 showed that after eight months of keyboard lessons, preschoolers demonstrated a 46% boost in their spatial reasoning IQ, a skill important for certain types of mathematical reasoning.

In particular, it is early music training that appears to most strengthen the connections between brain neurons and perhaps even leads to the establishment of new pathways. But research shows music training has more than a casual relationship to the long-term development of specific parts of the brain too.

In 1994 Discover magazine published an article which discussed research by Gottfried Schlaug, Herman Steinmetz and their colleagues at the University of Dusseldorf. The group compared magnetic resonance images (MRI) of the brains of 27 classically trained right-handed male piano or string players, with those of 27 right-handed male non-musicians.

Intriguingly, they found that in the musicians' planum temporale - a brain structure associated with auditory processing - was bigger in the left hemisphere and smaller in the right than in the non-musicians. The musicians also had a thicker nerve-fiber tract between the hemisphere. The differences were especially striking among musicians who began training before the age of seven.

According to Shlaug, music study also promotes growth of the corpus callosum, a sort of bridge between the two hemispheres of the brain. He found that among musicians who started their training before the age of seven, the corpus callosum is 10-15% thicker than in non-musicians.

At the time, Schlaug and other researchers speculated that a larger corpus callosum might improve motor control by speeding up communication between the hemispheres.

Since then, a study by Dartmouth music psychologist Petr Janata published by Science in 2002, has confirmed that music prompts greater connectivity between the brains left and right hemisphere and between the areas responsible for emotion and memory, than does almost any other stimulus.

Janata led a team of scientists who reported some areas of the brain are 5% larger in expert musicians than they are in people with little or no musical training, and that the auditory cortex in professional musicians is 130% denser than in non-musicians. In fact, among musicians who began their musical studies in early childhood, the corpus callosum, a four-inch bundle of nerve fibers connecting the left and right sides of the brain, can be up to 15% larger.

While it is now clear from research studies that brain region connectivity and some types of spatial reasoning functionality is improved by music training, there is growing evidence that detailed and skilled motor movements are also enhanced.

Apparently the corpus callosum in musicians is essential for tasks such as finger coordination. Like a weight-lifter's biceps, this portion of the brain enlarges to accommodate the increased labour assigned to it.

In a study conducted by Dr. Timo Krings and reported in Neuroscience Letters in 2000, pianists and non-musicians of the same age and sex were required to perform complex sequences of finger movements. The non-musicians were able to make the movements as correctly as the pianists, but less activity was detected in the pianists' brains. The scientists concluded that compared to non-musicians, the brains of pianists are more efficient at making skilled movements.

The study of music definitely affects the human brain and its development, in a staggering number of ways. But what to make of all the research, especially in terms of deciding the best course of music study or appreciation for yourself or your offspring?

A 2000 article by N M Weinberger in MuSICA Research Notes makes the following excellent point: Although the Mozart Effect may not list up to the unjustified hopes of the public, it has brought widespread interest in music research to the public. And listening to ten minutes of Mozart could get someone interested in listening to more unfamiliar music, opening up new vistas.

Irregardless of the hype surrounding the Mozart Effect, the overall academic evidence for music study as a tool to aid brain development, is compelling.

At the University of California School of Medicine in San Francisco, Dr. Frank Wilson says his research shows instrumental practice enhances coordination, concentration and memory and also brings about the improvement of eyesight and hearing. His studies have shown that involvement in music connects and develops the motor systems of the brain, refining the entire neurological system in ways that cannot be done by any other activity. Dr. Wilson goes so far as to say he believes music instruction is actually 'necessary' for the total development of the brain.

So the bottom line is this: Music study and practice probably does aid in the development of the brain in various important ways. And after all, if you enjoy music, there is nothing to lose by trying, and everything to gain!

Duane Shinn is the author of over 500 music books and products such as DVD's, CD's, musical games for kids, chord charts, musical software, and piano lesson instructional courses for adults. He holds an advanced degree from Southern Oregon University and was the founder of Piano University in Southern Oregon. He can be reached at http://www.pianolessonsbyvideo.com. He is the author of the popular free 101-week e-mail newsletter titled "Amazing Secrets Of Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions" with over 55,000 current subscribers. Those interested may obtain a free subscription by going to http://www.playpiano.com/

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

USA TODAY

'Sad day in Rock 'n' Roll': Music world reacts to death of AC/DC's Malcolm Young
USA TODAY
AC/DC's co-founder and guitarist Malcolm Young's death Saturday was met with sadness and remembrance from many in the music world. Here's how they're reacting on Twitter: Eddie Van Halen of hard rock band Van Halen called today "a sad day in rock ...
Malcolm Young, AC/DC Guitarist and Co-Founder, Dead at 64RollingStone.com
AC/DC co-founder Malcolm Young dies aged 64The Guardian

all 208 news articles »

HuffPost

Green Day Exposes 'Zombie' Donald Trump In Scathing New Music Video
HuffPost
Green Day portrays President Donald Trump as a zombie-like creature in its new music video. The punk rock band exposes POTUS as a monster in the official clip for the previously unheard “Back in the USA,” which the group shared online Thursday,.


Forbes

Despite Predictions, Blockchain Will Not Be The Future Of The Music Industry
Forbes
Just about every month for the past couple of years there's been an article or post by a major publication about how blockchain technology is going to revolutionize the music business. It's supposedly the savior of the industry because finally "artists ...


New York Times

Taming Prokofiev: The Week's 8 Best Classical Music Moments on YouTube
New York Times
Here's a video excerpt from him playing that work's brief, perpetual-motion Scherzo in 2016 with the New York Philharmonic. Mr. Trifonov dispatches the music's breathless runs with crispness, clarity and wondrous lightness, even during a sotto voce ...


Mashable

Invisible earplugs are the perfect stocking stuffer for music lovers
Mashable
Well, fret not: The Mashable Shop is currently holding a sale on the EarDials, a set of smart, transparent earplugs that make the perfect stocking stuffer for any music snob who still wants to be able to be able to hear after the encore wraps up ...


Phoenix New Times

Why Walker Lukens Came Around on "Beer-Drinking" Music
Phoenix New Times
Musician Walker Lukens has always liked some of his dad's music. Any self-respecting rock star loves the brainy albums of Warren Zevon and the funk and soul of the Stax label, but Lukens has finally come around on the section of his dad's collection ...


TechCrunch

Spotify acquires online music studio Soundtrap as it goes after ...
TechCrunch
Spotify has made another acquisition as it continues to build out the services it offers to artists beyond basic streaming. It has acquired online music studio ...
Spotify acquires Swedish music startup Soundtrap for 'at least $30 million'Business Insider
Spotify acquires Soundtrap, an online music recording studioEngadget
Spotify buys music recording start-up SoundtrapFinancial Times
Soundtrap Blog
all 33 news articles »

MLive.com

Renowned lyrical jazz pianist returns to St. Cecilia Music Center
MLive.com
GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- Brad Mehldau, described as one of the most lyrical and intimate contemporary jazz pianists of his generation, will return to St. Cecilia Music Center on Nov. 30. He'll perform with his Trio, featuring Larry Grenadier on bass and ...


Newsday

Music turkeys: Major albums that flopped
Newsday
The idea of Chris Cornell abandoning the legendary grunge of Soundgarden to team up with Timbaland and his space-age dance music made some sense on paper. In practice, though, it was a howling mess and that's if you made it past the opener “Part of ...


NPR

Maybelle Carter, The Mother Of Popular Country Music : NPR
NPR
Known as "Mother Maybelle," Carter had a unique style of playing that helped determine the role of guitar in modern country music. Johnny Cash called her "the ...

and more »
Google News

Who?s Playing What? A Guide To The Guitars Of The Pros

Eric Clapton performs his slow-handed magic on his. Even with... Read More

Beauchamp Brings Diversity to Music

Everyone has a talent. For Miami, Okla.'s, Brian Beauchamp, it's... Read More

Mp3s ? The Future of Music?

Mp3 music is audio that has been digitally encoded and... Read More

Taking iPod Culture into Clubs as Well as Cyberspace: Jonny Rocket Interviewed by The G-Man

Already making plenty of noise in the marketplace is a... Read More

The Downfall Of The #1 Southern Gospel Station

Back in the 90's we had a local Southern Gospel... Read More

Health Insurance for Creative Artists -- A Multi-Talented Health Investment

For the Creative Artist -- Good Health Insurance is Truly... Read More

A Brief History of Fender Guitars

Perhaps no other guitar maker has touched the hearts of... Read More

Music & Emotions: Can Music Really Make You a Happier Person?

How many times have you turned to music to uplift... Read More

Writing Hit Songs

There are a lot of factors to writing a hit... Read More

How Has Eminem Risen to the Top?

How is it that a little white boy from Kansas... Read More

Visualization Techniques for the Pianist

Controlling the images of the mind through image projection has... Read More

Killer Piano Playing Secrets of a Chord Addict!

I wish you could have seen me play the piano... Read More

Music & Citizenship: Can Playing a Musical Instrument Help Your Child Become a Better Citizen?

Disregard the popular image of rappers with their ghetto blasters,... Read More

Is it Possible to Download Music Legally Anymore?

Throughout the past few years downloading music on the internet... Read More

Closet Monsters London Spicoluk

Way back in November I found myself at the Casby... Read More

Flaming Guitars! Minarik Fuels The Excitement of a New Generation of Musicians

From the Telecaster to the Flying V to the Iceman... Read More

Music, the Spiritual Connection

All through the age's music and spirituality as served hand... Read More

The Life and Music of Beatle George Harrison

Propelled into fame as one of the Beatles, along with... Read More

Les Paul Vintage Gibson Guitars

Les Paul vintage Gibson guitars were first produced in 1952.... Read More

How Many Guitar Chords Do I Need To Know?

Guitar chords, (chords played specifically on a guitar,) differ only... Read More

Radio - What?s Happened To It?

Remember when radio stations played great music?OK, before you accuse... Read More

50 Cent

More so than any other music since the blues, hip-hop... Read More

Learn to Fiddle the Orange Blossom Special, the Most Popular Fiddle Tune in the World

Learning to fiddle the Orange Blossom Special is not easy,... Read More

6 Tips for Organizing Your Music Files

If you're a digital music fan, you probably have problems... Read More

How I Compose a Piece of Music

A number of people have asked about my own methodology... Read More