Musical training shapes brain anatomy and affects function 

Contact: Kat Snodgrass
Society for Neuroscience

Musical training shapes brain anatomy and affects function

Training before age 7 has bigger impact on brain anatomy; improvisation can rewire brain

SAN DIEGO — New findings show that extensive musical training affects the structure and function of different brain regions, how those regions communicate during the creation of music, and how the brain interprets and integrates sensory information. The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2013, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.
These insights suggest potential new roles for musical training including fostering plasticity in the brain, an alternative tool in education, and treating a range of learning disabilities.
Today's new findings show that:
  • Long-term high level musical training has a broader impact than previously thought. Researchers found that musicians have an enhanced ability to integrate sensory information from hearing, touch, and sight (Julie Roy, abstract 550.13, see attached summary).
  • The age at which musical training begins affects brain anatomy as an adult; beginning training before the age of seven has the greatest impact (Yunxin Wang, abstract 765.07 see attached summary).
  • Brain circuits involved in musical improvisation are shaped by systematic training, leading to less reliance on working memory and more extensive connectivity within the brain (Ana Pinho, MS, abstract 122.13, see attached summary).
Some of the brain changes that occur with musical training reflect the automation of task (much as one would recite a multiplication table) and the acquisition of highly specific sensorimotor and cognitive skills required for various aspects of musical expertise.
"Playing a musical instrument is a multisensory and motor experience that creates emotions and motions — from finger tapping to dancing — and engages pleasure and reward systems in the brain. It has the potential to change brain function and structure when done over a long period of time," said press conference moderator Gottfried Schlaug, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School/Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, an expert on music, neuroimaging and brain plasticity. "As today's findings show, intense musical training generates new processes within the brain, at different stages of life, and with a range of impacts on creativity, cognition, and learning."
          THANKS TO Paul Sheldon for researching these interesting topics!

Newsletter January 2012 

Follow me into 2012 - it's gonna be a great year of music, music, music.

Thank you, Maine, for a great time over the holidays; I'll be back for several weeks this summer.    And if you have any friends who asked "when is/was Julie here?" forward them this email and say "SIGN UP on the email list you CHOWDER HEAD!"        Oh, and for those who don't know how close Milwaukee is to Chicago - it's like Portland to Boston.  No problemo, so let me know if you visit Second City!  You can get theya from heya (so please do).
And, finally, this is what you are missing 
(but you don't have to, I've got a guest room)...
Ok - all you Cheeseheads - let's enjoy some SANGIN' and drive away the winter blahs...with blues & folk & more...

Milwaukee, WI, USA :
THIS WEEK!  (go here for the gritty details)

1)  Friday night - South End Blues Band - 9:30pm Bayview Brewhaus!

2) Saturday night  (now for something entirely different)
A Community Sing!  Remember singing around a campfire and knowing all the words?  We will be cosy at The Second Annual Sing Along at ihe historical Coffee House, and you'll have the words projected on the screen to help you out.  No pressure, just pure, safe, group singing fun!  I'll be one of the song leaders, along with the excellence musicianship of Craig Siemsen & Mark Dvorak.   You can donate, but you know it's priceless. (-:

3) This Wednesday morning and noon - Miss Julie's Music Fun classes... this is for tots and their caregivers.  I also have a Babies class!  Please spread the word to those you know who 'qualify' - it's held at a church right off of HW 45 (Mequon Exit) in Germantown;  I can offer a resident discount for those who don't live there.


3) Blues band in Waukesha at Bosco's Social Club, Sat. January 28

4) Unity Church in Milwaukee -Family Sunday. 10 am service.  Special story and music for families! January 29th.


5) Jazz at The Tower Restaurant, Fri. Feb. 3 from 9:30-11:30pm

6) “Heart and Soul ~A Singing Valentine” at the Unitarian West (Brookfield, WI )  Saturday, February 4 at 7:30pm.

See my site for more info, or send me an email if I missed a detail.  I'll get back to you as quickly as I can.  

xo, JT


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