A recent study has found that there is improved brain function with music lessons for poor kids. Children from disadvantaged neighborhoods who took two years of music lessons had improved brain function over their peers who did not receive music instruction.
Studies have indicated that the chronic stress of povcerty hinders the brain development of young children. New research finds that one important part of neural functioning is strengthened over time when underpriviliged children engage in the challenge and fun of music lessons.
The newest study of six to nine year olds who live in gang infested areas of Los Angeles that that those who spennt two years participating in free music lessons processed the sounds of syllables more rapidly tham their eers with less musical training.
“This research demonstrates that community music programs can literally remodel children’s brains in a way that improves sound processing, which could lead to better learning and language skills.”
“This research demonstrates that community music programs can literally remodel children’s brains in a way that improves sound processing, which could lead to better learning and language skills,” reports lead author Nina Kraus of Northwestern University. Her study is published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Kraus and her colleagues followed 44 children for three years. All were students in the Los Angeles public schools; all lived in designated gang-reduction zones.
At the beginning of the first year, 18 students enrolled in the music-training program conducted by the Harmony Project. After six months or so of introductory musicianship classes (one-hour sessions twice weekly in which they learned fundamental skills), they moved on to group instrumental instruction.
Another 26 students had these lessons deferred for one year, starting their instruction at the beginning of year two.
At the end of each school year, all participants took part in neurophysiological testing, in which researchers determined how quickly their brains processed the distinction between the sounds “ba” and “ga.”