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Larner Research on Benefits of Music to Children Noted in Newsweek

February 27, 2024 by Lucy Gardner Carson

(FEBRUARY 27, 2024) Newsweek recently reported on a 2020 study building on previous research conducted at the Larner College of Medicine that found that even small amounts of music education could lead to major benefits to children’s development.

(FEBRUARY 27, 2024) Newsweek recently reported on a 2020 study building on previous research conducted at the Larner College of Medicine that found that even small amounts of music education could lead to major benefits to children’s development.

Though it can take years to master an instrument, research shows it’s worthwhile for children. A 2020 study led by Leonie Kausel, Ph.D., a violinist and neuroscientist, found that learning to play an instrument aids brain development and can lead children to have greater creativity and a better quality of life. The research found that musically trained children performed better at attention and memory-recall exercises. They also had greater activation in brain regions related to attention control and auditory encoding.

A separate study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry in 2014, conducted by the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, found that even small amounts of music education could lead to major benefits to a child’s development. The study—by Larner researchers James Hudziak, M.D., professor emeritus of psychiatry, pediatrics, and medicine; Matthew Albaugh, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and psychological science; Margaret Spottswood, M.D., clinical assistant professor of psychiatry; and Eileen Crehan, Ph.D.’16; and colleagues—found that learning an instrument helped to refine fine motor skills and boost a child’s emotional and behavioral development. The study found that children who had undergone musical training had an increase in cortical thickness in the areas of the brain that contribute to functions such as memory, organizational skills and attention span. So while the learning process may be challenging at times, it’s definitely something to be encouraged.

Read full story at Newsweek

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