Music and the Anti-Aging Effect

  • The latest study to investigate the correlation between music and brain power, examined the effects of playing an instrument on IQ levels. The 18 month long German study was conducted on 73 boys and girls aged 7 to 8. Approximately one-third of the children were given weekly 45 minute music lessons on the instrument of their choice and they were also told to practice regularly at home. According to the research team the study found that there is “a positive transfer effect from musical expertise onto speech and language processing.” In other words, children who are trained on an instrument experience an improvement in verbal memory. “Across one and one-half years, children in the music group showed a greater increase on every measure of verbal memory than the natural science and control groups.” As of yet, no studies have been done to determine if playing an instrument positively effects an adolescent or aging brain.

    Another recent brain function/music study conducted at Ohio State University, examined the effects of working out while listening to music. The researchers found that listening to music while exercising increased scores of verbal fluency in cardiac rehabilitation patients. The patients scored more than double on the verbal fluency test after they worked out to music, then they did when they simply exercised without music. “Listening to music may influence cognitive function through different pathways in the brain,” states lead researcher Emery. “The combination of music and exercise may stimulate and increase cognitive arousal while helping to organize cognitive output.”

    Although the brain boosting effects of music may not be powerful enough to increase the IQ of adult and aging brains, it seems that it can help to enhance brain function, at least in the interim. Just remember to play something that you enjoy and if you have some free time, consider taking musical instrument lessons!