It’s time to stop resenting your parents for making you take music lessons as a kid.
A new study, which claims to be the “largest investigation of the association between playing a musical instrument and brain development,” found that musical training has a wealth of other benefits for children.
A University of Vermont College of Medicine child psychiatry team says musical training could be contributing to better attention spans, emotionl control and lower anxiety.
Dr. James Hudziak, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families, and his team analyzed the brain scans of 232 children ages 6 to 18. As expected, they found that children with a musical background had brains with enhanced motor control areas.
But these kids also had thicker areas of their cortex, the outer layer of the brain, in the parts that control inhibition, working memory, attention, organization and future planning.
Hudziak has previously suggested that playing the violin could help a child with psychological disorders. “We treat things that result from negative things, but we never try to use positive things as treatment,” he says.
Musical training is often coming from outside of school – or not at all. The researchers cited dats from the U.S. Department of Education that said three-quarters of American high schoolers “rarely or never” get involved with extracurricular activities in music or the arts.