Musical skills rely on workout, not innate genius

March 14th, 2009 - 12:03 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Mar 14 (ANI): Proficiency and skill relies on hard graft, not innate genius, claim researchers after carefully reviewing brain scans of child musicians before and after musical training.

Previous studies had revealed that adult musicians have different brains to adult non-musicians. However, new research claims to have settled the argument.

“This is the first paper showing differential brain development in children who learned and played a musical instrument versus those that did not,” New Scientist quoted Gottfried Schlaug of Harvard Medical School, as saying.

To reach the conclusion, research team tested musically untrained six-year-olds, 15 of whom then received weekly keyboard lessons for 15 months, and 16 of whom didn”t.

When they compared magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans taken before and after for both groups, they found that auditory and motor areas of the brain linked respectively with hearing and dexterity grew larger only in the trainee musicians.

At the end of the training period, the musicians also outperformed the others at specific tasks related to manual dexterity and discrimination of sounds. But the two groups were matched on more distantly related skills such as arithmetic.

According to Schlaug, the same pupils are being followed in case it takes longer for these more “distant” skills to emerge.

The study has been published in the journal The Journal of Neuroscience. (ANI)

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