Musicians’ brains are often used as models of neuroplasticity. Indeed, numerous studies to date have shown that musical training can change the brain. Musicians have larger brain volume in areas that are important for playing an instrument: motor, auditory and visuo-spatial regions.
A recent Nature Review Neuroscience article shows that music training can benefit the brain beyond music. Specifically, musicians may have an advantage for processing speech in challenging listening environments compared with non-musicians
This effect of music training suggests that, akin to physical exercise and its impact on body fitness, music is a resource that tones the brain for auditory fitness. Therefore, the role of music in shaping individual development deserves consideration.
To go further:
- Compare the effect of musical training to the effect (if any) of listening to music: Our Brain on Music: We need to do more than listen
- Reflect on the role of music at school: Do we need more music education?