Do music lessons can make you a better reader?
According to scientists from Northwestern University the answer could be YES!!
The study was conducted by Nina Kraus and her staff with the help of Harmony Project, an NGO that provided the instruments to the participants, was developed with more than one hundred 10 year old children from the poorest areas from Chicago and Los Angeles. They compared the reading skills from children who were attending music lessons, with another group of children that wasn’t taking any kind of these activities.
They realized that children who received music lessons for more than 5 hours per week improved their reading skills and they also were more affluent.
They also have done with young teenagers who were having music lessons and also playing in bands or in choirs in their communities
During this research they recorded the participants’ brainwaves to measure their response to speech sounds. They noticed that after couple of years of training the guys could distinguish any different sound from each other in a faster way than the teenagers who didn’t have these activities.
Scientists concluded that playing any kind of instrument or singing was beneficial to children’s brains and also improve their academic skills. Another important thing in this research is that all of the children had the same IQ and reading skills at the beginning of the research.
At the end of the research Kraus told that music alters the nervous system in a positive way for those who frequently are having any kind of these lessons .
How about the Grown-ups?
Well, Dr. Kraus is really passionate about this topic, she also performed a research with adults between ages 55 to 75 and she also found that those who played instruments at a certain point of their lives had less problems with communication and hearing and the longer they played the instrument the better brain response to these features.
She also compared a group of people who have been taking piano lessons during six months and she discovered that the participants improved in their memory, fluency and in how they process the information from their brains. Another research performed by scientists of the University of Geneva confirmed that having some music lessons improve the brain development in young adults.
Therefore, there is no excuse to have a little bit of fun with the guitar, ukelele or whatever instrument you like.
In fact, this post will be a message for myself, I always wanted to play the guitar but I couldn’t or I just didn’t want to find the time to play it. I will add it in my checklist…
For further information:
White-Schwoch, T, Carr, K, Anderson, S, Strait, D, & Kraus, N 2013, ‘Older adults benefit from music training early in life: Biological evidence for long-term training-driven plasticity’, The Journal Of Neuroscience, 33, 45, pp. 17667-17674