THIS ARTICLE SUMMARIZES THE MAIN EVIDENCE TO date regarding links between the brain and music. Musical expertise, often linked to early and intensive learning, is associated with neuroanatomical distinctive features that have been demonstrated through modern neuroimaging techniques, especially magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These distinctive features are present in several brain regions, all more or less involved either in gestural motor skill (therefore probably related to the use of an instrument) or auditory perception. There also is growing evidence that learning music has more general effects on brain plasticity. One important notion, related to this topic, is that of a probable "sensitive period," around 7 years of age, beyond which music-induced structural changes and learning effects are less pronounced. These data are discussed in the perspective of using music training for remediation in children with specific language and reading disorders.
- ©© 2009 By the Regents of the University of California