Page 9 - The Benefits of Music Education
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Areas of Greater Cortical Thickness in Musicians
 Health and Resilience
Parents will be heartened to know that studying music also brings children life-long health bene ts. Scienti c research is starting to emerge showing that life-long music training can o er improved cognitive function as we age.8 We already know that music therapy has helped people recover from strokes, and can be useful in treating a variety of neurological disorders, such as stuttering, autism and Parkinson’s disease.9 Music training has even been shown to delay
the onset of dementia.10 Consequently, the strong parallels between music and speech,
as well as the inherent enjoyment of music, make it a useful and  exible rehabilitative technique at many ages.
And music study can compensate for hearing loss in adults. Studies show that seniors with musical training are able to pick out sounds in noisy environments – such as restaurants – and can carry on conversations better than those without this training, even though they’ve su ered hearing loss.11
Increases in the Capacity
of Key Brain Regions
Important regions of the brain, such as the frontal lobes that perform higher-level cognitive functions, are larger in musically trained individuals than in those without this training.12
In the illustration below, the coloured areas are the regions of the brain that are signi cantly larger in musically trained
people – the brighter the colour, the bigger the di erence.  e brains of musically trained individuals are typically larger in the temporal cortex – an area on the side of the brain that controls hearing, among other things – and in the frontal cortex – an area in the front
of the brain in charge of abstract thought, planning, and complex behaviours, as well
as controlling our intended movements.
8. Brenda Hanna-Pladdy and Byron Gajewski, Frontiers of Human Neuroscience, Recent and past musical activity predicts cognitive
aging variability: direct comparison with general lifestyle activities, 2012
9. Wan, Ruber, Hohmann and Schlaug, Music Perception, 2010
10. J. Verghese et al, Leisure activities and
the risk of dementia in the elderly, New England Journal of Medicine 2003; 348:2508-16
11. Perri Klass, M.D., The New York Times, Early Music Lessons Have Longtime Bene ts, 2012
12. Patrick Bermudez
et al, Neuroanatomical Correlates of Musicianship as Revealed by Cortical Thickness and Voxel- Based Morphometry, Cerebral Cortex July 2009; 19:1583–1596
   Greater difference in thickness
Smaller difference in thickness
 April 2014 The Royal Conservatory 7

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