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Music lessons boost memory, brain function of children

Thursday, September 21, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: memory, ADHD,

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(NewsTarget) In a report published in the online edition of the journal Brain, a Canadian study showed young children engaged in music lessons developed better memory function compared to same-age peers who received no musical training.

The Canadian study took measurements from children between the ages of four and six for a year, and counted music lessons and music training outside school. They tested children on their ability to tell the difference between harmonies, rhythms and melodies, and to repeat back a sequence of numbers with minimal mistakes. Researchers found developmental changes in time periods as short as four months for the children who took music.

Laurel Trainor, professor of psychology, neuroscience and behavior at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, said, "It is very interesting that the children taking music lessons improved more over the year on general memory skills that are correlated with non-music abilities such as literacy, verbal memory, visiospatial processing, mathematics and IQ."

This new Canadian study comes a few years after a similar study performed by Psychologists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

In the Hong Kong study, 90 boys between ages six and 15 were studied. Half had musical training as members of their school’s string orchestra program for one to five years. The other 45 participants were Chinese schoolmates with no musical training. All the children were given verbal memory tests to see how many words they recalled from a list, and a comparable visual memory test for images. The children with musical training again performed better.

Natural health advocate Mike Adams says this study shows that children need attention and real education in school -- not drugs -- to improve memory and focus. "Kids are getting medication shoved at them, and the schools are paid to do it while cutting programs like arts education that could actually help these children with the same problems that the medications are unsuccessfully attempting to solve."


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