Sunday, April 05, 2009

What shape is your brain in?

Those wacky Canadians have been looking at our brains again, and found more proof that musicians really are different. KL Hyde and others (why do we still use Latin?) found structural brain changes in young children after 15 months of musical training (compared to children who did not receive the training). They believe that these changes through increased brain plasticity suggest that music training in general increases brain plasticity, leading to the structural differences of adult experts (known from other studies). Are these changes a good thing? I'd be inclined to say yes, but I may be a bit biased. Now I have to decide whether my kids' increased brain plasticity is worth driving to Indianapolis five days a week for choir practice. Maybe I should just let their brains go mushy from TV. That's a type of plasticity, right?

Hyde KL, Lerch J, Norton A, Forgeard M, Winner E, Evans AC, and Schlaug G (2009). "Musical training shapes structural brain development," Journal of Neuroscience 29 (10), 3019-3025.


Anonymous said...
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Mariana Soffer said...

You might like to read :
Which describes music as a kind of language, therefore the theory you propose makes sense, given that if you stimulate any skill (reading, witting, singing, ...) your brain becomes smarter, cause learning and stimulus cause them to be active, and to keep progressing.

Elaine Fine said...

I believe that being musical and having both musical expression and musical discipline allows the brain to function the way it is supposed to function. I believe that depriving people of the opportunity to have full brain function at a young age is similar to depriving them of proper nutrition or social experiences.

(I'm typing on a computer that doesn't have commas so please insert them while reading--like you sometimes have to do with student papers.)

If they enjoy singing in the choir in Indianapolis it is worth the drive. If the drive is a problem then start a children's choir where you live. It doesn't matter where the musical experiences happen. It matters THAT the musical experiences happen.