How does music positively impact the brain?

I have found some fascinating slideshows and studies done by researchers at the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University, Illinois.  The lab is led by Nina Kraus, PhD.  She grew up as a child exposed to her mother’s professional piano playing, and has spent her life studying how humans process sound.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the work that Kraus does.  “In her lab, Kraus and her colleagues study numerous aspects of the auditory system, including its underlying brain mechanisms, the way musical input influences our ability to read and learn language and how conditions such as autism, aging, and HIV affect sound processing.”  Please read the entire article below from Monitor on Psychology:

http://brainvolts.northwestern.edu/documents/Kraus_article_Monitor.pdf

The following excellent slideshow explains “how multiple brain systems such as thinking, feeling and hearing work together to support listening and language and are strengthened by musical experience.”  http://brainvolts.northwestern.edu/slideshows/music/index.php

Musicians who engaged in musical activity for at least 20 minutes twice a week have enhanced neural encoding of music and speech.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2000431/

Musicians are better at hearing speech in noise across the lifespan, and have better auditory attention and memory across the lifespan.  And even adults who no longer play music, but took lessons as a child still can have positive neural benefits!

Please have a look at the slideshow link mentioned above for more amazing facts about the relationship between music and the brain systems.

 

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