Mothers around the world will be pleased with a new study suggesting music lessons help improve a child's memory skills. The study, conducted by researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, indicates children with musical training have significantly better verbal memory than their peers without training.
Researchers put 135 boys between ages 6 and 15 through a series of memory tests. The boys had to recall words from a list and perform a visual memory test from an image. Those with musical training recalled more words from the verbal list and picked up on more words over the course of three memory tests. After 30 minutes, those with training also recalled more words than their non-musical peers. The researchers saw no differences between the two groups when it came to the visual memory test.
All of the participants had been playing instruments for one to five years. There was a direct relationship with the number of years of playing and the verbal memory skills. Children who had only been playing for one year were better than their peers who did not play. However, those children who played for five years were the best at verbal memory tests.
The theory behind the findings is that musical training stimulates an area of the brain that is also responsible for recall. Researchers say, "Such diverse evidence strongly implies that music training somehow brings about changes in the cortical organization structures of the brain." Researchers speculate these findings may also hold true for brain injury patients.