“Playing an instrument may help youngsters better process speech in noisy classrooms and more accurately interpret the nuances of language that are conveyed by subtle changes in the human voice,” says Nina Kraus, Hugh Knowles Professor of Neurobiology, Physiology and Communication Sciences at Northwestern University.
“Cash-strapped school districts are making a mistake when they cut music from the K-12 curriculum,” says Kraus, director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory in Northwestern’s School of Communication.
Kraus will present her own research and the research of other neuroscientists suggesting music education can be an effective strategy in helping typically developing children as well as children with developmental dyslexia or autism more accurately encode speech.
“People’s hearing systems are fine-tuned by the experiences they’ve had with sound throughout their lives,” says Kraus. “Music training is not only beneficial for processing music stimuli. We’ve found that years of music training may also improve how sounds are processed for language and emotion.”
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