“Musical training can improve attention and working memory, which are executive functions that are important for daily life and are correlated with general better outcomes during lifespan. [In our study, we found there were] two different mechanisms [that] seem to underlie the better performance of musically trained children in our task. One that supports more domain-general attention mechanisms and another that supports more domain-specific auditory encoding mechanisms.”
What does the last part of this sentence mean? It means that there is a large and generalised network working in the brain. In this case, it is the attention network. At the same time there is a much smaller and specific part of the brain working. In this case it is the auditory processing. What is most interesting is that this large attention network and small auditory network are working simultaneously. These networks are interacting, creating meaning and importantly firing up the working memory system every time a musically trained student learns music.
This study is one of the first times we have been able to identify how and when this interaction and synchronisation is happening. The lead researcher concluded that “It seems that musical training can improve attention and working memory, which are executive functions that are important for daily life and are correlated with general better outcomes during lifespan.”
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