Music is Good for the Brains of Adolescents

This story was reported in Focus.it, an online Italian magazine: Playing an instrument trains the brain. Not new…almost a cliché. But a new study recently published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, adds new details to the picture, in particular, by reinforcing the idea that making music is beneficial even if it’s started “late,” as teenagers.

The new research followed a group of students from Chicago at their entrance into high school, when they began to play an instrument in band class, for 2 to 3 hours a week. In their last year of high school, certain aspects of their neurological development were compared with those of another group of teenagers who had instead followed only a program of physical activity for the entire school curriculum.

From measurements of electrical brain activity, the researchers observed that students involved in music had a better sensitivity in recognizing the sounds of language than their counterparts, and showed faster brain responses to sound.

According to the researchers, music might give extra help in the ability to process data, especially linguistic information, delaying the closure of the “window of opportunity” and the young age considered most beneficial to learn foreign languages. The benefits of music, in short, could extend well beyond the playing of an instrument.

American researchers point out that in times of tight budget constraints, music lessons in high schools are often dramatically reduced or suspended. Compare this to Italian schools where music…ironically for a country that produced some of the best music ever…is La Cenerentola…the Cinderella…the stepchild of disciplines. And in most Italian schools it is not even contemplated as a matter for teaching. How sad is that.

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This entry was posted in Abitudini, Differenze culturali, English, Musica. Bookmark the permalink.

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