Study Shows Community Music Programs Enhance At-Risk Youth Brain Function

September 5, 2014

A new Northwestern University study funded by the NAMM Foundation provides the first direct evidence that a community music program for at-risk youth has a biological effect on children’s developing nervous systems. Two years of music lessons improved the precision with which the children’s brains distinguished similar speech sounds, a neural process that is linked to language and reading skills.

“This research demonstrates that community music programs can literally ‘remodel’ children’s brains in a way that improves sound processing, which could lead to better learning and language skills,” said study lead author Nina Kraus, the Hugh Knowles professor of communication sciences in the School of Communication and of neurobiology and physiology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern.

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