Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why extra curricular activities are not extra

8270384941_f9e29e509dUSAG-Humphreys via Compfight cc

"Take music as an example. A study by Virginia Penhune at Concordia University shows that musical training, particularly instrumental training, produces long lasting changes in motor abilities and brain structure. The earlier a child starts instrumental training, the stronger the connection between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. These changes last into adulthood and are proven to affect the ability to listen and communicate as an adult. Nina Krauss, a cognitive neuroscientist at Northwestern University, just released a study that older adults who took music lessons at a young age can process the sounds of speech faster than those who did not, even if they haven’t picked up an instrument in 40 years.

These traits, found in musicians, are also common among world-class athletes and top-level managers. Is it a coincidence that Condoleeza Rice (piano), Alan Greenspan (jazz clarinet), Paul Allen (guitar), James Wolfensohn (cello) all studied music for years as children? Perhaps, but they all attribute current success, in part, to their musical training. Science backs that up. Children (and even adults) who play an instrument 30 minutes a week over the course of a little over a year have more highly developed brains.
The same is true for foreign language, often one of the first programs to go in financially strapped schools. Studying a second language restructures the brain which lasts into adulthood. The cortex, which undergoes the greatest changes when a second language is learned during childhood, influences thought and consciousness. Even memory is impacted according to a new joint study by the The Neuro at McGill University and Oxford University."

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