A new paper from Germany published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology notes a connection between music and brainpower.A new paper from Germany published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology notes a connection between music and brainpower. The result of an 18-month study, which compared seven and eight-year-old boys around Germany who received specialized music training with those that didn’t, suggested “a positive transfer effect from musical expertise onto speech and language processing.” The research team was led by Ingo Roden of Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg, Germany.
The music students participated in weekly 45-minute lessons on their instrument of choice (guitar, violin, cello, flute, trumpet, clarinet, or drums). Another 25 children were given “enhanced education in mathematics and general studies” over that same 18-month period. An additional 23 children received no additional instruction beyond the basic school curriculum.
“Across one and one-half years, children in the music group showed a greater increase on every measure of verbal memory than the natural science and control groups,” the researchers report. They went on to propose possible reasons. “Playing music requires continued monitoring of meaningful chunks of information,” they write. “Rather than individual notes, these chunks entail clusters of notes that are combined into meaningful melodic gestures and phrases.”