The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association has shared findings of two new studies from the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California, which show that musical training can change children’s brain structure and boost engagement in the brain networks responsible for decision-making. The results are a part of an ongoing five-year research collaboration between the LA Phil and USC launched in 2012 to investigate the emotional, social, and cognitive effects of musical training on childhood brain development. The findings coincide with the LA Phil’s recent announcement of the expansion of its Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) program. The findings of one study, published this month in the science journal Cerebral Cortex, show that children receiving music instruction demonstrated changes in the size of the brain regions that are engaged in processing sound, called “auditory association areas,” and a stronger connectivity in the corpus callosum, an area that allows communication between the two hemispheres of the brain. A second study, published last month in the journal PLoS One, found that when the young musicians were performing an intellectual task, they demonstrated greater engagement of a brain network that is involved in executive function and decision-making.
Posted November 27, 2017