This video explores what it means to understand music. Enjoy!
Archives for February 2015
There is a lot of evidence out there, both anecdotal and scientific, that playing music promotes brain health. More proof of that has recently been published in The Journal of Neuroscience, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal. According to research conducted by the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences in Canada, music can play a role in healthy speech identification later in life.
Let’s establish some terms, here. They looked at older adults in two groups; those who had begun formal music training before age 14 and those with no musical training. The researches were measuring a quality called speech identification. This refers to the ability to discern sonic and acoustic signals in order to recognize and understand speech. Previous studies have found empirically that older adults can experience problems with speech identification and not be able to discern, sequence and comprehend speech. So an older brain can have trouble understanding speech, even in the absence of measurable hearing loss.
Researchers wanted to find out if playing music from an early age would promote speech identification later in life. Other studies have found that music aids in speech identification early in life, but does musical education have lasting effects? According to the Rotman Research Institute, it does. They found strong evidence that music education and performance greatly bolster speech identification in older people, when compared to those with no musical education.
They identified that old musicians brain responses were two to three times better than their less musically inclined counterparts. That is a massive improvement. It is logical though, that musician’s would maintain a more sensitive and discerning ear later into life. So much of music is active listening, and strengthening those parts of the brain have clear lasting effects. By using EEG machines, the researchers could actually see the musician’s brains working more effectively.
This study is a further proof that musical education and practice help grow healthy brains. The effects of aging on cognitive functions are very evident, and it is important to understand what we can do to help our brains stay healthy.
Here is a cool video explaining why humans love music. The video explores the powerful brain chemistry behind our music obsession. Check it out!