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Effects of Training Music on Developing Minds





Effects of Training Music on Developing Minds


Neuroscientific and Psychological research shows that musical coaching in children is amalgamated with the sensitivity of the sound as well as the enhancements of general reasoning such as verbal abilities. But how does music do such significant changes to the brain of children when it is meant for entertainment? The studies in the auditory cognitive neuroscience domain reveal how the structure and function of brain plasticity underlie the effects. The training by music relates together with the plastic variations in motor, sensory, and sensorimotor areas. The contemporary position of the article does not offer itself to reveal changes that will be detected in the conclusion concerning the changes brought by music training. The essay will review different literature on how music training will change the structure of the brain and behavior.

The proposed mechanism of the synchronizing rhythm brought by musical coaching generates positive plusses because the proficiencies that are transferred yield promising avenues for developing of the brain. Two decades ago, several researchers saw the difference in the behavior and brain of musicians as compared to those who do not sing. Training music to a growing child is seen to relate well with better mathematical skills, language, higher IQ, and a general academic achievement. It has also been noted that musicians have better movement and hearing. However, the findings and interpretations of the effects remain unclear. For instance, adults who have studied music for a long time tend to have good results from the inherent biological factors such as genetic makeup. The best way to understand the training music effects on a developing mind is to conduct a study on kids prior to the commencement of their training, and systematically follow up to have a clear view of their brain development in relation to the practice.

The Impact of Music on Child Development

Research that was conducted by Assai Habibi (a senior research associate) in the University of California that deals with the creativity and brain structure of developing minds, was meant to track the training progress from the beginning to the end (McPherson 290). Group one involved young children who were taught orchestra music while the second group were only involved in sports training. Each year, the two groups memory and language abilities, as well as the capacity to process speech and music, were tested (McPherson 324). A detailed interview was also done to find out from the parents how these children were behaving at home. After two years, the group that was studying music were noted to be more accurate particularly when it came to the detection of pitch in different melodies. However, both groups managed to tell when music had the same tune

How melody coaching advances the brain

Within the two year period, the kids who underwent music training were able to detect the changes in pitch more precisely when there were different melodies (McPherson 195). The two groups also managed to recognize when the music was similar. This showed that the children who take part in musical training are more attentive to the songs. The children who were being trained music had stronger mind responses as compared to the ones that only did sports. They also had more active brain pathway that is responsible for encrypting and processing sound developed at a very high speed (Penhune 133).

The interim results for the brain structure research were significant and promising as their findings supported their survey that music plays a significant role in the development of the brain (Villers-sidani 192). The training results also recommend that when music coaching is introduced throughout childhood for a short period of about two years, it has the capacity of accelerating the development of the brain and the processing of sound (Villas-Sidani 144). It is believed that acquisition of language in kids can benefit from it as the developing of language and reading skills involves the same areas in the brain. At-risk children who come from low income earning families can benefit more from musical training since they experience a lot of difficulties with the development of language.

How the brain processes sound

The brain only processes sound when the pathway is connected to the ear. For instance, when a person hears something, the eardrums receive the noise or sound in vibration forms of air molecules. A system of the ear then converts all waves into brain signals. The signals are then delivered to the receiving vicinity of the brain that is identified as the hearing cortex which is found close to the sides of the brain (Shnupp 155). Through the use of different tasks, the brain of children was measured on how it registers and processes reverberation prior to joining the training and every time after participating in the training through a mind imaging procedure called the electroencephalography (Shnupp 207). This efficient research enabled the tracking of the mellowing of the hearing alleyway. One task required that the children should be presented with pairs of musical melodies that were unfamiliar while they recorded the signal through the EEG in their brain.

Through the research from the University institution, pairs of different musical tunes showed that they either had occasional rhythmic, tonal irregularities or were identical (Mc Pherson 177). The children were asked to identify if the pairs had a similarity or were different. The children who were successful were checked on how they were able to distinguish whether the braces of melody were dissimilar and the matching brain replies to these on sporadic alterations. This enabled the measurement of how well the brains of the children were adapted to the melody and rhythm. The general conclusion was that specific responses are produced by the brain when an unanticipated alteration in the sequence of sound is detected.

The difference between this groups was seen in the detection of pitch thus proving that the musical group had stronger brain response. The musically trained children were also seen to have faster development in brain pathways particularly in processing and encoding sounds. The findings show that when a child is trained music for a period of even two years, their brain and sound development tend to improve (Shnupp 278). Also, this is believed to give the kids the reading and language skills that engage to similar brain areas. Children who have low socioeconomic status in theory neighborhood were also seen to improve their language development.

There was also substantial evidence that showed phoneme abilities of vocabulary and nonverbal reasoning when general intelligence test was conducted (Villers-Sidani 199). Using the same domain, it was observed that musical training brought out promising far-transfer effects such as executive functions and verbal information that brought good academic performance. The brain plasticity over the years, on the other hand, was seen to engrave the brain and how the memory of these children improved. Therefore, greater plastic changes were seen to be consistent in relation to their behavioral features such as emotional arousal.

The functional and Plasticity changes observed in musical coaching

Provided with the evidence of numerous cognitive roles in melodious training, it is usual that the brain that undergoes musical training tends to have underlying networks which increase the plasticity of the brain (Penhune 204). Apart from the anatomical effects of motor and sensory differences, there were structural changes in the premotor, cortex and somatosensory areas. Therefore the comparison between the non-musicians and musicians was found to be in the degree of structural changes like the corpus callosum (Villers-sidani 62).


This literature review shows that childhood musical training apart from enhancing many of the cognitive functions it also results in the changes of neuroplasticity in the structure and function of the brain. As much as the effects tend to be strongly potentiated when the training of music occurs during periods that are sensitive, there is also evidence that shows that the music-persuaded mind plasticity likewise takes place in the future. This study desired to show that specific aspects affect the comparative value of teaching on music as compared to the other forms of longitudinal coaching in children that also entail the same assignation of cognitive resources as well as the demand of time venture. It has also included factors like the significance of motivation, the potential role of rhythmic entrainment as well as affect and social communication in learning music. The findings of this research are geared towards a clearer comprehension of the advantages of musical coaching as well as providing more insights on the psychological and social significance of music education for the children who come from societies that are underserved.


Works Cited

McPherson, Gary E. The Child As Musician: A Handbook of Musical Development. Oxford University Press, 2015. 300-410.

Nelken, Jan Schnupp & Israel. Auditory Neuroscience: Making Sense of Sound. MIT Press, 2011. 104-368.

Penhune, Etienne De Villers-Sidani & Virginia. What we learn and when we learn it: sensitive periods in development. Frontiers E-books, 2014. 60-288.

Penhune, Virginia Burdet. The Neurosciences and Music III: Disorders and Plasticity. John Wiley & Sons, 2012. 120-165.

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