Music lessons as a child definitely enhance your brainpower for life, researchers have reported.
Researchers discovered that children who attended musical classes developed qualities like: fast processing and retention of information and problem solving.
The controlled study employing functional MRI brain imaging was tried out by researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital.
‘Since executive functioning is a strong predictor of academic achievement, even more than IQ, we think our findings have strong educational implications,’ said Nadine Gaab, who led the research.
Executive functions are the top-level cognitive processes that empower people to quickly process and retain information, regulate their behaviors, enhance their decision making skills, solve problems, plan and adjust to changing mental demands.
Gaab and team contrasted 15 musically trained children, 9 to 12, to a control group of 12 untrained children in the same age-groups.
The researchers likewise contrasted 15 adults who were active professional musicians to 15 non-musicians.
Both control groups received music training at school level.
As family demographic factors play a role whether a child receives private music lessons, the researchers correlated the musician/non-musician groups for parental education, job status (parental or their own) and family income.
The groups, also correlated for IQ, engaged in a range of cognitive tests, and the children also had functional MRI imaging (fMRI) of their brains during testing.
On cognitive testing, adult musicians and musically trained children exhibited improved performance on various facets of executive functioning.
On fMRI, the children with musical training exhibited improved activation of particular areas of the prefrontal cortex during a test that induced them to switch between mental tasks.
Areas like: supplementary motor area, the pre-supplementary area and the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, are known to be connected to executive function.
‘Our results may also have implications for children and adults who are struggling with executive functioning, such as children with ADHD or [the] elderly,’ says Gaab.