VSL:SCIENCE // Why loving music makes you smarter

Scientists know that musical training can improve language skills. Now a new study from the Institute of Cognitive Sciences of the Mediterranean adds evidence that it does so, in part, by sharpening pitch discrimination — and that improvement takes a surprisingly short time.

The researchers put EEG caps on 32 8-year-olds and tested them on their reading and pitch-discrimination skills while measuring their brain waves. Afterward, half the kids were given six months of music lessons. The other half got painting lessons. The young musicians showed greater advances in reading and pitch discrimination, and their brain waves were more synchronized and robust: In other words, they read better because the lessons had tuned them in to the musicality of the written word.

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