Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Music Lessons May Help Bridge 'Achievement Gap'

Two years of instruction was followed by brain changes in children, study found

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A community music program for disadvantaged children boosted an important part of their brain development and function, according to a new study.

The benefits were seen in the youngsters' ability to distinguish similar speech sounds, a process associated with language and reading skills, the researchers said.

The researchers also found that it took two years of music instruction for this enhancement to occur. One year of music training wasn't enough to trigger changes in the brain, according to the study published Sept. 2 in the Journal of Neuroscience.

"This research demonstrates that community music programs can literally 'remodel' children's brains in a way that improves sound processing, which could lead to better learning and language skills," lead author Nina Kraus, a professor of communication sciences and of neurobiology and physiology at Northwestern University, said in a university news release.

The study included children aged 6 to 9 enrolled in the Harmony Project, which provides free music lessons to disadvantaged children in Los Angeles. While researchers observed a link between music lessons and brain development, the study didn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

"These findings are a testament that it's a mistake to think of music education as a quick fix, but that if it's an ongoing part of children's education, making music can have a profound and lifelong impact on listening and learning," said Kraus, director of Northwestern's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory.

The results provide evidence of the benefits of long-term music lessons for children, according to Harmony Project founder Margaret Martin.

"Thanks to this finding, sustained music training is now an evidence-based method for closing the achievement gap between poor kids and their more advantaged peers," she said in the news release.

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd