How does music practice affect the human brain?

Many parents want their children to study in a music school. Someone really wants their child to be able to realize their dream that has not been achieved. But most parents just hope that music lessons will develop their son or daughter’s intelligence. Indeed, many studies have found that singing and playing musical instruments have a good effect on the work of the brain. In a recent study, scientists were able to determine which parts of the brain are activated during music lessons and what they are responsible for. As it turned out, from studying the theory of music and playing musical instruments can really benefit a lot. Musicians not only stand out with their more developed intelligence, but also live longer.

Children’s Mindfulness

The results of the experiment were published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Neuroscience. A team of scientists led by violinist and neuroscientist Leonie Kausel collected 40 children aged 10 to 13 years for the study. Half of the volunteers attended lessons on playing different kinds of musical instruments at least two hours a week or had already played in an orchestra. The rest of the children had no musical education. During the experiment, they were shown an abstract picture and played a short sound for four seconds. All this time they monitored the activity of different parts of their brain with the help of the functional magnetic tomography (fMRI) device.

Children with musical education think a little better than their peers.

During the experiment, children could focus on either the image or the sound. They also had the opportunity to focus on nothing. Two seconds after the picture was displayed or the sound was played, children had to remember what they saw and heard. The researchers were interested in children’s accuracy and speed of response. Almost all children answered equally quickly, but beginning musicians remembered images and sounds more accurately. Brain scans revealed that children with music education had several brain departments working well at the same time:

-the lower frontal gyrus;
-the frontal gyrus and central part of the brain;
-structures of the “phonological loop”.

The phonological loop is generally understood as a system that takes part in processing and memorizing sounds. Scientists do not yet know exactly how music classes improve the work of the above-mentioned brain department. But scientists plan to find out in other scientific studies. In addition, they want to find out if music lessons can be used to treat neurological disorders such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder.

The benefits of music

Music not only affects the work of the brain, but also affects other organs of the human body. In 2019, scientists from the American state of California conducted a study, which also involved 40 people. Each of them was invited to listen to three compositions that they did not know. It turned out that dynamics, timbre and speed and complexity of musical compositions have the greatest influence on the state of human organism. Depending on the song, people have a faster heart rate, sweating palms and other changes in the body. On this basis, scientists have concluded that music can really affect human emotions, and also increase various indicators such as strength and endurance. So, there is nothing strange about including “sports” playlists during jogging and other physical exercises.

On the other hand, music can weaken your creative abilities a lot. British scientists once conducted an experiment in which people were divided into two groups. They were given the task of combining three words like “dress”, “clock” and “flowers” to form an associative word – for example, “sunflower. The creative task was performed by one group of people in a room with background music, while the second group thought in silence. To the surprise of the researchers, people from the quiet room coped with the task with great success. From this we can conclude that during the work some people better not listen to music, even instrumental.