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Those Childhood Piano Lessons Should Start Early
Date:2/14/2013

ions between the areas of their brain responsible for movement.

In contrast, the brain scans of the musicians who began their music lessons later in life were no different than the scans of those with little or no musical training. The researchers concluded music lessons can only boost brain development early in life.

"This study is significant in showing that training is more effective at early ages because certain aspects of brain anatomy are more sensitive to changes at those time points," study co-author Robert Zatorre, a researcher at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital at McGill University, who is also the co-director of the International Laboratory for Brain Music and Sound Research, said in the news release.

The study authors pointed out that because the musicians were given a non-musical motor task, the benefits of early musical training can apply to more than playing an instrument. Although early musical training can boost brain development, they added it doesn't necessarily make people better musicians.

"Musical performance is about skill, but it is also about communication, enthusiasm, style and many other things that we don't measure," Perhune said. "So, while starting early may help you express your genius, it probably won't make you a genius."

The study was published recently in the Journal of Neuroscience.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about childhood brain development.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: Concordia University, news release, Feb. 12, 2013


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