Skoe, E., & Kraus, N. (2012). A Little Goes a Long Way: How the Adult Brain Is Shaped by Musical Training in Childhood. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 32(34). Retrieved November 1, 2013, from http://www.jneurosci.org.myaccess.library.utoronto
This article was a study that investigated whether musical training during childhood leaves an enduring imprint on the adult brain. They tested 45 healthy adult participants between the ages of 18 and 31. The participants were placed in three groups based on their self-reported musical instruction; 0, 1-5 years, 6-11 years, and the male and female ratio was similar in all groups: 9/6, 9/6, 10/5 respectively. The groups also had similar IQ as measured using the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence, English Vocabulary and Matrix Reasoning.
The participant’s auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) were recorded to 8 triangle waves ranging in fundamental frequency: 262, 294, 330, 350, 370, 393, 416, 440 Hz. Each millisecond stimulus was presented binaurally 300 times in a pseudorandom interleaved design at 70 dB SPL via ER-3A insert earphones with an inter-stimulus interval of 38.43 millisecond. Participants sat in a reclining chair in a sound treated and electrically shielded booth. The ABRs were recorded using an analog to digital rate of 20kHz using a computer based hardware and software program. For each stimulus, the study obtained a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) measurement calculated by obtaining a fast Fourier transform in MAYLAB 2011b.
The study shows that having any prior music training will alter the nervous system in ways that remain into adulthood. It also proves having music training during developmental stages in life may result in long-lasting positive effects on the adult brain.
This study is an excellent way to prove to schools that music programs are very important and can help with a positive development of the brain. Most of the participants in this study started music instruction at the age of 9, which is typically when teachers can introduce them to music at school. By offering music in schools, this will ensure that the majority of students will receive music instruction and improve their nervous system.