Researchers have demonstrated that music training changes the brain. Although it can be expected that engagement in any prolonged and specialized activity will yield cortical changes, the impact of music on the brain seems to be unique. In this MTRB post we will review some recent studies on music exposure and cortical differences. Continue reading
This interview is a supplement to the two blog posts by guest author Krystal Demaine regarding Neurosciences and Music IV in Edinburgh, Scotland in June 2011.
As music therapists we often work on cognitive skills including learning, attention, executive function, etc… The music therapy literature on these skills is in its relative infancy, so you won’t find a lot of empirical evidence directly supporting the use of MT for cognition. However, a recent publication provides some interesting information that will make you think. Continue reading
Most likely you think that there is no relationship between stress, asthma, music, and rats. In most cases you’d probably be right. But recent research has attempted to determine the effect of “music therapy” on stress responses in rats; in this case rats with asthma. Continue reading
In order to present both sides of the music training for speech and reading argument, I thought I’d comment on another study on this topic. Recent music neuroscience studies have shown that children who are engaged in music are changed by that engagement. For instance, children involved in music programs in school have been shown to have higher standardized test scores (Johnson & Memmot, 2006), children who practice and played piano have higher cortical responses to piano than non-musicians (Pantev et al. 1998), and children trained in music increase gray matter in areas of the motor cortex, auditory cortex, and corpus callosum (Hyde et al. 2009). Continue reading
When listening to music we often respond with movement of some sort. Some people will openly dance to what they hear, others will only slightly move their body, and some will tap their toe without realizing that they are moving. The ability to synchronize body movements to an external auditory stimulus has been widely explored in the literature. From this research we know that we can entrain (or synchronize) to a pulse without having to think about it (see Thaut, 2005 for in-depth review). But what about the infant? Do young children move their bodies to music? Continue reading
The mystery of how music is perceived in the brain has begun to receive an ample amount of attention in the music neuroscience literature. With the invention of new technologies that can measure brain activity in vivo, more and more studies on cortical activations with music listening are appearing in the literature. These studies provide interesting insight as to what happens when we are listening or producing music. A recent study has examined cortical networks involved with speech and song perception. Continue reading