There may be a lot of unknowns in the world of science but one thing that is clear: playing music does wonder for your brain.
The latest research published in the November edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry shows that music lessons can help kids focus, control their emotions and diminish anxiety.
Researchers from the University of Vermont looked at MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) brain scans of 232 children who range in ages from 6 to 18 and looked at ways music instruction affected the thickness of the cortex, which is the outer layer of the brain. The theory is that thicker cortices preserve the effectiveness of the brain’s functions while thinner cortices reduce the efficacy. The research team found that those who participated in music lessons had thick cortices in the regions of the brain related to motor control or coordination, executive function — which includes attention, memory, organization and planning — and processing of emotions.
The research team believes in the Vermont Family Based Approach, a school of thought that young people’s environment – parents, teachers, friends, pets, extracurricular activities – contributes to their psychological health. The team believes that music instruction is a critical component to health, especially for children living with psychological disorders.
In their study, the authors write: “Such statistics, when taken in the context of our present neuroimaging results, underscore the vital importance of finding new and innovative ways to make music training more widely available to youths, beginning in childhood.”
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