Very interesting article:
Ani Patel, an associate professor of psychology at Tufts University and the author of “Music, Language, and the Brain” says that “there’s now a growing body of work that suggests that actually learning to play a musical instrument does have impacts on other abilities.” These include speech perception, the ability to understand emotions in the voice and the ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.
Patel says that music neuroscience, which draws on cognitive science, music education and neuroscience, can help answer basic questions about the workings of the human brain.
In addition, Patel says music neuroscience research has important implications about the role of music in the lives of young children.“If we know how and why music changes the brain in ways that affect other cognitive abilities,” he says, “this could have a real impact on the value we put on it as an activity in the schools, not to mention all the impact it has on emotional development, emotional maturity, social skills, stick-to-itiveness, things we typically don’t measure in school but which are hugely important in a child’s ultimate success.”
At the Conservatory Lab Charter School in Boston, every student receives music instruction.
“It doesn’t matter whether they have had music instruction before or not,” says Diana Lam, the head of the school. Lam says music is part of her school’s core curriculum because it teaches students to strive for quality in all areas of their lives — and because it gets results.
“Music addresses some of the behaviors and skills that are necessary for academic success,” she says. “Since we started implementing El Sistema, the Venezuelan music program, as well as project-based learning, our test scores have increased dramatically.”