CogniFit's Science blog: Can Music Also Improve Brain Fitness?

Can Music Also Improve Brain Fitness?

We all know music is good for your soul but new research is suggesting it may be good for your brain fitness as well especially in young people. A new study conducted at York University showed major cognitive improvement in children who took part in a 4 week music training program.

The children’s cognitive skills were tested and also confirmed by brain imaging. The imaging showed that in fact brain changes had taken place as a result of the music program. The scientists were astonished by the significant jumps in cognitive skills in a short 20 day period.

Science has already determined long before the musicians have distinctly different brains which may be a result of always being exposed to music. In musicians you will see things like someone who plays the piano will have an enlarged region of the brain that controls finger movements. Also brain scans have shown that kids 9-1 who play musical instruments have significantly more grey matter than children who don’t.

For many years there has been a phenomenon called the Mozart effect. The basic idea is listening to Mozart makes your smart or improves brain fitness. This has not been a consistent effect when it was actually studied but some doctors have in fact seen the effects of it.

The study that was done by York University gave much more concrete answers as to whether music can improve brain fitness. Another test done with 48 pre-schoolers also supported the theory that music is a great for the brain. The children were divided into two groups.

Both groups did computer based brain fitness activities designed to improve cognitive skills. The first group used brain games that focused on music such as rhythm, pitch, melody, voice and musical concepts. The second groups brain games were based on shapes, colors, lines, dimension and perspective.

The children were tested for verbal and spatial intelligence before and after the training. They also conducted brain imaging which measure the time course of brain activity. The results were consistent and very dramatic. They strongly affirmed the correlation between music and brain fitness in children.

Although this information may eventually be used to treat brain disorders right now the conclusion is clear. Giving your children the opportunity to listen to and learn to play music is going to be good for brain development and overall brain fitness. Music changes the brain and anything that does that make it healthier.