Ability to Keep a Beat Linked to Language Skills

Do you think about quarter notes and triplets when someone is speaking to you? A new study shows that musician’s brains are better at encoding speech than nonmusicians’ brains.

Speech is made up of a series of sounds and rhythms. It would make sense that people spending time to study musical areas such as rhythm would perform in languages than the average person.

There is a great deal of research that has shown language skills and rhythmic ability are linked, as is the brain’s response to sound.

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To find out, they tested a group of 124 Chicago high-school students, most of whom had no musical training. In one task, the teenagers tapped their fingers in time with a drumbeat, and the accuracy of their tapping was measured. In another task, researchers recorded the teens’ brainwaves using electroencephalography (EEG) — electrodes on the scalp — while the participants listened to a speech synthesizer repeating a “da” sound (a common sound in speech).

Their findings were impressive! They found that the teens most accurate at keeping a beat, the more consistent their brain responses were to spoken sounds. In other words, the less variable their tapping was compared with the drumbeat, the less variable their brainwaves were in encoding the “da” sound.

One of the biggest focuses in music lessons, especially at a young age, is rhythm. We know that a strong sense of rhythm is something that can be developed. If it is true that a stronger sense of rhythm can improve language skills, a strong focus on music education could have a massive impact on literacy world wide.

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“This study adds another piece to the puzzle in the emerging story suggesting that musical rhythmic abilities are correlated with improved performance in nonmusic areas, particularly language,” neuroscientist John Iversen of the University of California, San Diego, who was not involved with the study, said in a statement.

There are so many studies currently being conducted proving a strong link between music and it’s positive impact on our brains. This ancient art form appears to be a very strong asset in brighting our youth’s minds. Music programs like the Harmony Project are being used to increase test scores and decrease drop out rates in at risk communities, and they are making a huge difference.

 

The Neuroscience of Drumming: Researchers Discover the Secrets of Drumming & The Human Brain | Open Culture

http://www.openculture.com/2015/08/the-neuroscience-of-drumming.htmlAn old musicians joke goes there are three kinds of drummers in the worldthose who can count and those who cant. But perhaps there is an even more global divide. Perhaps there are three kinds of people in the worldthose who can drum and those who cant. Perhaps, as the promotional video above from GE suggests, drummers have fundamentally different brains than the rest of us. Via openculture.com

Music has big brain benefits compared to other leisure pursuits

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-07-music-big-brain-benefits-leisure.html#nRlvMusical instrumental training, when compared to other activities, may reduce the effects of memory decline and cognitive aging (Medical Xpress) — It turns out mom was right. Music lessons are good for you, and those benefits may last a lifetime. This is the second study published by Hanna-Pladdy, which confirms and refines findings from an original study published in Neuropsychology in 2011 that revealed that musicians with at least 10 years of instrumental musical training remained cognitively sharp in advanced age. Via medicalxpress.com