According to an article just published by MSNBC.com, new findings from an experiment at Northwestern University are the first concrete evidence that playing music enhances brain function and sharpens hearing for all kinds of sounds, including speech and different inflections of speech. Researcher Nina Kraus, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University, is quoted as saying, “Experience with music appears to help with many other things in life, potentially transferring to activities like reading or picking up nuances in tones of voices or hearing sounds in a noisy classroom better.”
These new findings obviously highlight how important music classes are, despite the fact that music classes are usually the first to get the axe when local school boards find that they must tighten the budget.
Science has long expounded the idea that music was a function of higher cerebral functioning in the cerebral cortex where reasoning, thought, and language are seated. According to this latest report, researchers found instead that the brainstem, responsible for crucial autonomic functions such as breathing and heartbeat, was directly involved, even though it has long been considered to be uninvolved with complex processes such as music.
“These results show us how malleable to experience the brainstem actually is,” Kraus said of the findings detailed in the April issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience. “We think music engages higher level functions in the cortex that actually tune the brainstem……….”How much musical training would you need for this to be helpful?” Kraus wondered. “Would music help children with literacy problems? How old would you have to be to see these effects?”
To read the article in its entirety, please visit MSNBC here.
For a fascinating glimpse into how the brain receives and processes information, please visit “The Brain: A Roadmap to the Mind”.
Many thanks to Lori Burkhardt for sharing this article with us!