After beginning to take music lessons, you’re likely to experience many wonderful benefits from the training. At Fox Music of Virginia Beach, we strive to teach not only music, but also the advantageous qualities of respect, perseverance, focus, and determination. Scientific research released late last year suggests that music training may offer even more benefits, especially for children! Researchers studied the association between music lessons and brain development. The 2014 study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and examined the extent of association between music training and the development of cortical thickness in children. The cortex is the outer layer of the brain, which changes in thickness as children grow older. As the cortex thickens, more connections form, which promotes the growth of new brain cells. According to the results of the study, “The ‘Age × Years of Playing’ interaction was associated with thickness in motor, premotor, and supplementary motor cortices, as well as prefrontal and parietal cortices… follow-up analysis revealed that music training was associated with an increased rate of thickness maturation.” These are important and interesting findings! Through thickening of the brain’s cortex, music lessons support healthy maturation, behaviorally and mentally. This cortical thickening affects numerous areas of function, such as memory, organization, and attention. The research emphasized many psychological benefits. After conducting the study, one of the lead researchers himself decided to learn how to play the viola! The study reinforces the necessity of exposing more children to music lessons. When the researchers looked at the low numbers of students exposed to music as an extracurricular activity, they declared 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.” *The study is titled Cortical Thickness Maturation and Duration of Music Training: Health-Promoting Activities Shape Brain Development. You can find it in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Volume 53, Issue 11, Pages 1153–1161.