Research on the topic of enhancing cognitive function with music is abundant. However, most of it focuses on what happens after listening to music. New research looks at cognitive effects of music during listening, and the impact that music training may have on it's effectiveness in boosting concentration.
There is already ample evidence that music is an effective and enjoyable way to manage sleep disturbances such as insomnia. In recent years, there have been intriguing findings on the effects of mere sounds presented during sleep on the quality of sleep, as well as the function of sleep in memory and learning.
Evidence has accumulated during the last couple of decades that musical training shapes the brain in many ways. For instance, since playing a musical instrument requires accurate sound processing and control of movement, musicians’ brains appear to devote more resources to sound processing and motor functions and the integration of the two. Playing music from notes also requires a close interplay between visual and auditory processing. Therefore, might musical training also enhance the brain’s ability for audiovisual integration, the combining of sound and sight?
Recent studies suggest that the feelings we get from music have the same power in enhancing learning and focus as other emotional responses. Do differences in personality affect receptivity to music-evoked emotions?
With all the reports on how musical training augments the brain and supports different cognitive functions, people sometimes ask, what’s the downside? Can musical training and all the associated neuroplastic effects be somehow harmful?
Music is an easy way to enrich the home environment, and many parents seem to intuitively think that music listening is beneficial for cognitive development. However, links between music listening and enhanced overall cognition have not been convincingly demonstrated. In this article, we review research into the cognitive benefits of music on early childhood development.
The Sync Project’s mission is to develop music as medicine. We are building a data platform that maps music characteristics to real time, objective measurements of physiology from a rapidly growing variety of sensors and devices. The platform will enable discovery and validation of music signatures that are effective for health. In this post co-founders Marko Ahtisaari and Ketki Karanam survey some of the recent research on music and health that lead us to start the Sync Project.