Want to ‘train your brain’? Forget apps, learn a musical instrument! 🥁🎹🎷🎺🎸🎻
We have shared this article because it is a good way to look at the impact of music learning on the brain when compared to the more modern and technological approaches to brain development, enhancement or improvement.
Imagine a poster set that shows your students the benefits of music learning! We made some! Check out our shop!
There is an interesting term in this article – experience-dependent plasticity. Here is a good plain language definition that also happens to include a musical reference:
“Experience-Dependent Plasticity is the continuing process of the creation and organization of neuron connections that occurs as a result of a person’s life experiences. Differing life situations and circumstance influence how certain areas of the brain develop and continue to grow. Research has shown that animals raised in a complex and engaging environment have more dendrite development and more overall synapses than do animals who are raised in an environment with no stimulating or engaging features. This has been shown in human brains as well with violinists and Braille readers having an increased cortical development in the section of the brain that corresponded to the fingers of the left hand (which is used predominantly when playing the violin or reading Braille).” Read more about this here
For musical leaning there are a large number of variables that need to be considered – the age that music learning commenced; how long; frequent and intensive the music learning was; what instrument (if any) was the music learning done through; what pedagogy was used; what social environment was the music learning undertaken in; was the music learning done in a group or individually or both; what was the socioeconomic; cultural; social influence; what was the parents’ and especially the mother’s educational background and what kind of performance outcomes and mentors/role models were involved? These are only a few of the considerations.
An excellent paper and image to go along with this article come from Dawn Merrett who looked into these exact factors. Read more here and take a look at her summary diagram below