Busting the Myth Busting: Music and the Brain
Posted on July 14, 2016 by emilyihasz
I recently read a 2013 study overseen by Harvard grad student Samuel Mehr that found “Two Randomized Trials Provide No Consistent Evidence for Non musical Cognitive Benefits of Brief Preschool Music Enrichment”. From the title alone it would seem that music, contrary to long held beliefs, does not have a significant effect on cognition. Could this be true? I decided to further investigate. So I stepped up my research on music, learning, and how we as a people are affected by the music we listen to. What I found were dozens of reports on research and scholarly articles that listed benefit after benefit of music for the human brain. Music really does strengthen, stimulate and awaken the brain. Music really does optimize brain function. BUT...
interestingly, right there in the title of the Mehr study it says “…Brief Preschool Music Enrichment…” The tile itself tells us why the study's conclusions came to such. The key is not "brief preschool music enrichment" but longer term musical training. This brought my attention once again to the so called “Mozart Effect”, a study done by Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky (1993) who’s investigations on the effect of listening to music by Mozart discovered participants gained a temporary enhancement of spatial-reasoning. However once again, there is a big difference between “brief” listening and longer term musical training.
But what about "The Mozart Effect"? After watching that video, we can see it’s important to make that distinction between listening to music and actively learning how to play an instrument and make music.
And here’s another excellent video. Amazing what goes on in the mind of a musician!
Now for those who like to read please check below where you’ll find some of the reports on dozens of supporting research, plus oodles of scholarly articles–and these are only a few of what’s out there.
For instance, Medical Daily (Jun 18, 2014) asks Does Music Make You Smarter?
Or here, where we find that brain function is optimized by music; Musical Training Optimizes Brain Function (Nov 13th, 2013)
I could go on…but, you get the picture!
A Musical Mind
Great links to information on how music effects us both young and old:
- Listen to Music – It Can Save the Brain and Make It Grow (March 14, 2016)
- Does Playing a Musical Instrument Make You Smarter? (June 24th, 2014)
- Why Do People Listen to Music? (Aug 13th, 2013)
- 10 Ways Musical Training Boosts Brain Power (March 23rd, 2015)
- Music lessons spur emotional and behavioral growth in children, new study says (January 7, 2015)
- Actively learning to play an instrument can help a child’s academic achievement (December 16th, 2014)
And for the more mature among us Your Aging Brain Will Be in Better Shape If You’ve Taken Music Lessons (Jan 3, 2014