Music training, begun as late as high school, may help improve the teenage brain’s responses to sound and sharpen hearing and language skills, suggests a new Northwestern University study.
The research, to be published the week of July 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences(PNAS), indicates that music instruction helps enhance skills that are critical for academic success.
The gains were seen during group music classes included in the schools’ curriculum, suggesting in-school training accelerates neurodevelopment.
“While music programs are often the first to be cut when the school budget is tight, these results highlight music’s place in the high school curriculum,” said Nina Kraus, senior study author and director of Northwestern’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at the School of Communication.
“Although learning to play music does not teach skills that seem directly relevant to most careers, the results suggest that music may engender what educators refer to as ‘learning to learn,’” Kraus added.