Effects of Musical Training on the Auditory Cortex in Children
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Several studies of the effects of musical experience on sound representations in the auditory cortex are reviewed. Auditory evoked potentials are compared in response to pure tones, violin tones, and piano tones in adult musicians versus nonmusicians as well as in 4- to 5-year-old children who have either had or not had extensive musical experience. In addition, the effects of auditory frequency discrimination training in adult nonmusicians on auditory evoked potentials are examined. It was found that the P2-evoked response is larger in both adult and child musicians than in nonmusicians and that auditory training enhances this component in nonmusician adults. The results suggest that the P2 is particularly neuroplastic and that the effects of musical experience can be seen early in development. They also suggest that although the effects of musical training on cortical representations may be greater if training begins in childhood, the adult brain is also open to change. These results are discussed with respect to potential benefits of early musical training as well as potential benefits of musical experience in aging.
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