Musical training has a pervasive positive effect. This is manifested in a number of interesting ways. First,
unsurprisingly perhaps, musicians excel at pitch and rhythm perception and discrimination. Likewise, instrumental musicians tend to have superior fine motor skills. More intriguingly, musicians outperform nonmusicians in ways that are farther removed from those that might be expected from exposure to the acoustics and mechanics of playing an instrument. For example, various studies have found that musicians excel in vocabulary, reading, non-verbal reasoning, perception of speech in background noise, auditory memory,
and attention. For a review, see Kraus & Chandrasekaran, 2010.
With all of these perceptual and cognitive advantages, there must be underlying neurological changes that the
brain undergoes with music training. There is evidence of this from a number of sources.
Note: Dr. Kraus’ article is on pp. 21-22 of the pdf below. Other articles in this Special Issue may also be of interest.