What is common between Einstein, Lazlo, and Feynman besides the fact that they are the finest minds of the 20th century who have contributed to the advancement of theoretical science? All of them shared a great love for music!
While Einstein was a wonderful violin player, Feynman liked to spend his free time playing the bongos. Geniuses and their love for music are not merely a coincidence. Albert Einstein’s childhood was filled with tunes of classical music. His mother was a musician who encouraged self-expression through music. Einstein was encouraged at a very early age to take up the violin. By the time he was 13, he could play Mozart’s sonatas with perfection.
After Einstein’s death, a number of funded researches in various leading institutions have shown that musical training improves brain function in children and also helps with higher academic achievements. Here are a few proven factors which prove that music is the secret key to success
1. Music keeps your brain young
Brain plasticity is the capability of the brain to adjust to new situations and environments. As people shift from one field to another, say from teaching physics to baking, the brain map changes to help the person get attuned to his or her new work environment.
As people grow older they become slower; this is a known fact. However, much of this is due to loss of brain plasticity. It has been shown by multiple studies that people who practiced music as children had a much faster response to speech sound as compared to individuals who took no formal musical training. This proves that musical training has a long lasting impact on the brain’s sound processing areas.
2. Sing more and express more
A study conducted by the researchers at McMaster University in 2012 showed that children who took music lessons at a very early age showed improved expressions and communication skills. In fact, even infants who participated in interactive music sessions showed enhanced interactive skills by being able to point at things and waving goodbye. Their brains showed faster responses to sound and visual stimuli as compared to the ones who were not exposed to music.
3. Sing along to remember the words better
In 2011 at Northwestern University, the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory conducted a study on children to test their ability to read and recognize words. The studies revealed that children who took regular music lessons had enhanced abilities to read advanced materials. According to the study, “Music and literacy are correlated with electrical signals in the auditory brainstem. Musical training improves cognitive mechanisms which have a positive effect on literacy,” says Dr. Nina Kraus the head of the research team at Northwestern University.
4. Better social and brain connections with music: increased white matter connectivity
According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience in February 2013, early musical training promotes white matter connectivity and plasticity in Corpus Callosum. This effect usually shows at an early age. The earlier a musician starts practicing, the better the connectivity becomes. Studies have shown that people who started musical training at a very early age had stronger connections between the two hemispheres and also between the different motor cortexes of the brain. The period between six to eight years of age is crucial as it is a highly sensitive period when musical learning produces long-lasting changes in the brain-map.
5. It’s all black and white when it comes to gray matter
With early music lessons, people have shown a higher density of gray matter in their motor cortexes. A study conducted by a highly gifted team in the University of Vermont in 2014 states that people who have had early music training in their lives seem to have a better control of their emotions, they can voluntarily diminish anxiety and can train themselves to focus better on the task at hand.
Later studies have shown that thickening and thinning of the cortex is correlated with depression, anxiety, aggression, and behavior related issues in adults. Children who take up music early in their lives are at lesser risk of suffering from anxiety related disorders and depression.
6. Tuning in the executive functions
Studies show that people who have taken music lessons in early life show improved executive functions. These are complicated cognitive processes which allow people to process visual and sound info, retain information and recollect relevant facts. This is also related to behavior regulation and problem-solving abilities in adults. So children who take up music at an early age show improved executive functions and show better adjustments to changing mental demands.
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— India Today (@IndiaToday) February 24, 2016
— Music Teacher (@MusicTeacherMag) February 25, 2016
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