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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Taking A Music Class In High School Improves Teen Language Skills, May Boost Academic Performance

"Musical training in high school boosts a person’s language skills, and may improve academic performance." continues Medical Daily.  

Photo: Medical Daily

Nina Kraus, director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University School of Communication, has produced a multitude of studies showing the importance of sounds and hearing when it comes to development. In children, she recently told NPR that reading begins not with our eyes but with the way our ears, and brains, analyze and codify speech sounds — this developmental facet holds true in a person’s teens, too. According to a new study from Kraus, musical training in high school can strengthen a teen’s hearing and language skills, and improve academic performance.  

From birth until a person’s mid-20s, the brain undergoes constant development. In adolescence especially, the brain goes through a period of maturation in which the number of synapses in gray matter drops. Despite losing neurons, however, the brain is becoming more efficient. Certain regions mature faster than others, with the ones responsible for the most basic processes, such as processing information and motor control, going first. While genetics plays a role in how the brain matures, life experiences do as well, according to the National Institutes of Health.

It’s for these reasons that musical training improves teens’ development. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, involved 40 freshman high school students who either attended music classes for two to three hours each week or joined a junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), which emphasized fitness. It found that those who learned music experienced faster maturation in the brain’s response to sound, and heightened sensitivity to details in sound. While all students showed improvement in language skills necessary for reading, it was those who underwent musical training that performed the best three years later.  

Source: Medical Daily