Researchers believe that listening to music significantly enhances our brains' ability to distinguish between various sounds.
While analysing brain's electrical and magnetic signals, lead researcher Laurel Trainor, from McMaster University in West Hamilton, Ontario found that those with some training showed larger brain responses on a number of sound recognition tests given to the children.
AdvertisementThe study also showed that even a year or two of music training leads to enhanced levels of memory, attention and executive control.
"We therefore hypothesize that musical training affects attention and memory, which provides a mechanism whereby musical training might lead to better learning across a number of domains," said Trainor.
The reason for this, she suggests, is that the motor and listening skills needed to play an instrument with other people appear to heavily involve attention, memory, and the ability to inhibit actions.
However, merely listening passively to music (the "Mozart effect") does not produce the same changes in attention and memory.
Another study led by Antoine Shahin and his colleagues has shown that formal music training strengthens auditory cortex responses.
On average, musical training gives a child the same acoustic responsiveness as someone two to three years older.
However, he cautions that these studies do not necessarily show that musical training leads to enhanced IQ or creativity.
According to researcher Gottfried Schlaug, early-childhood training in music and enhanced motor and auditory skills as well as enhancements in verbal ability and nonverbal reasoning.
The correlation between music training and language development is even more striking for dyslexic children.
Schlaug said the results "suggest that a music intervention that strengthens the basic auditory music perception skills of children with dyslexia may also remediate some of their language deficits."