`Music training makes your kids better listeners`

Last Updated: Aug 22, 2012, 20:19 PM IST

London: Musical benefits! Music training for your kids in childhood, even for as little as a year, leads to better communication skills in their later life, a new study has found.

The research found that adults who had taken between one and five years of music lessons in the past were found to be more sensitive to sound than those with no training, the `Daily Mail` reported.

Scientists at Northwestern University in Chicago say that music training not only makes children better listeners, they are more able to pick up conversations in loud environments, and thus more adept at discerning social cues.

"Based on what we already know about the ways that music helps shape the brain, the study suggests that short-term music lessons may enhance lifelong listening and learning," said Professor Nina Kraus.

"We help address a question on every parent`s mind: will my child benefit if she plays music for a short while but then quits training?" Kraus, who is one of the authors, said.

The researchers recruited 45 adults of similar age and intelligence, and put them into three groups no music tuition, one to five years of lessons, and six to 11 years.

Those who had taken lessons had typically started them at around the age of nine.

They listened to a series of sounds while electrodes on their scalp measured their brain responses.

Sounds are tiny fluctuations in air pressure which are detected in the ear and travel down the ear canal as electrical impulses to the brain?s temporal lobe, where they are processed.

Each sound is made up of many frequencies but the number which makes it all the way through the auditory system varies from person to person.

Participants with some musical training picked up a bigger frequency range and were better at pulling out the `fundamental frequency` the lowest one which is central to recognising speech or music in a noisy place.

The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, adds to the wealth of evidence that musical ability makes people better at learning languages.