How Music Can Affect Your Brain

Julia Wood

Thesis

Children that play instruments or study music tend to have a different course of brain development that influences everyday tasks and can help with academics. There are many skills you learn when playing an instrument that can be transferred or used in everyday life. Some of the skills even help with academics.

Helps Everyday Life

Musical training can help people with everyday tasks. When playing an instrument you need to be focused for a long period of time. This can be useful in academics because it helps lengthen your attention span which makes you get less distracted. Also, changes in pitch strengthen muscles in your ear. This can help with communication between people. Hearing is one of the most important senses. Lastly, understanding ratios and fractions is also a part of learning how to play an instrument. For example, "a quarter note is half as long as a half note." (Dewar) This can help out in a math class in almost every unit you do. For example, algebra, probability, geometry, etc.

healthier brainstem responses

Study shows that people who play instruments show healthier brainstem responses. "Other studies have reported that kids assigned to receive musical training developed distinctive neural responses to music and speech. (Dewar) A study compared professional keyboard players to beginners. Both people have had music training but obviously the professional has had more. Because the professional has had more training, they most likely have a higher IQ than the beginner. Lastly, people you don't play instruments were told to conduct finger exercises on a piano for a week. Just through that one week, there were signs of rewiring of the brain. If the continued to play the piano they would mostly likely do better in school due to the skills they were learning.

If music training improves intellectual ability

A study was conducted where 6-year-olds were assigned to take one of the four lessons during the school year. The lessons were keyboard lessons, vocal lessons, drama lessons, and no lessons. Everyone in these groups had an increase in IQ. But, "the kids who received music lessons showed significantly more improvement than the other groups did." (Dewar) "8-year-old children showed enhanced reading and pitch discrimination abilities in speech after 6 months of musical training." (Dewar) All of these studies prove that if you play an instrument or train in music you will have an increase in IQ and most likely academic grades as well.