13 Jan 2015
A young Brooklyn Music Lessons violin student playing her violin during a lesson
BML student Gabby Lee during her violin lesson. Photo credit: Bottomley Photography

According to a recent study conducted at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, musical training might not only help kids develop motor skills, but also help them focus their attention, control their emotions and reduce anxiety. This is the sort of thing that music teachers have been saying for ages, and it’s great to now have the science to back it up. According to a press release, this study is the “largest investigation of the association between playing a musical instrument and brain development.”

Dr. James Hudziak, M.D., professor of psychiatry and director of the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families, and his team focused on the outer layer of the brain, known as the cortex. They found that patterns of thickening and thinning in this layer can indicate levels of anxiety, depression, attention problems, aggression, and behavior problems. The goal was to see if musical training could alter these patterns and the results are positive. Their findings indicate that music practice not only helps motor skills, but also influences thickness in the part of the cortex that relates to “executive functioning, including working memory, attentional control, as well as organization and planning for the future.”

The study supports Hudziak’s model that the entirety of a young person's environment – parents, teachers, friends, pets, extracurricular activities – contributes to his or her psychological health and that music is a critical component. The authors say that “such statistics, when taken in the context of our present neuroimaging results, underscore the vital importance of finding new and innovative ways to make music training more widely available to youths, beginning in childhood.”

We couldn’t agree more, in fact, developing and supporting new and innovative ways of making music training available to all ages in New York City and abroad is one of Brooklyn Music Lessons ideals. Our teachers teach lessons in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, New York and select teachers also teach Remote Online Lessons to students anywhere in the world. If you're in New York City, let us help you find a local music teacher who best fits your needs. If you're not in New York, and still want to have lessons in your home via Skype or Google Hangouts, we can still help. Find a Match or contact us today and we’ll help you get started.

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