De gids voor de geestelijke gezondheidszorg

Childhood Music Lessons Have Neural Benefit Decades Later

23 November 2013

The study suggests early musical training has a lasting, positive effect on how the brain processes sound, the authors note. For the study, 44 healthy adults, aged 55 to 76, listened to a synthesized speech syllable ("da") while researchers measured electrical activity in the auditory brainstem. They compared neural responses to speech in 3 groups who reported varying degrees of music training early in life.
Results showed that even though none of the study participants had played an instrument in nearly 40 years, the participants who completed 4 to 14 years of music training early in life had a faster response to the speech sound, on the order of about 1 millisecond. Being a millisecond faster may not seem like much, but the brain is very sensitive to timing and a millisecond compounded over millions of neurons can make a real difference in the lives of older adults. These findings confirm that the investments that we make in our brains early in life continue to pay dividends years later.


Abstract: J Neurosci. 2013;33:17667-17674


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