As the population ages, people are working for more years before retirement. At the same time, the cognitive requirements of the work we do are increasing. Are our brains up for the challenge? Could music offer an easy, enjoyable way to combat cognitive decline associated with normal aging?
Sometimes it feels like music sticks to our memories particularly well, or our memories stick to the music. Why is music such a powerful trigger for memory? Are the memories of our life events involving music somehow different from other memories of the past?
Music training is associated with a wide range of changes in brain function and structure. Recent studies have shown that an early onset of music training results in more brain changes, indicating that there may be a sensitive period for music training, or an age where the brain is especially responsive. On the other hand, in terms of brain plasticity and positive effects of music training, it is never too late! Any age is the perfect age for starting a musical hobby, and studies show that during aging, music training could be a good way to combat cognitive decline.