Musicians spot mistakes more quickly and more accurately than non-musicians – Science – News

I always find it fascinating the way music and musical training affects the brain for good. Here is a recent study which once again shows how God has given us such a great gift in music, that enhances and grows our abilities in many different aspects of our life:

“New research has shown that individuals who play an instrument are more capable at identifying errors and correcting mistakes, and that these benefits apply to amateur musicians as well as professionals.

The study, led by Dr Ines Jentzsch for the University of St Andrews, tested the cognitive abilities of musicians and non-musicians, with the research concluding that learning an instrument could “slow or even prevent” the mental decline associated with aging.

The research, published in the journal Neuropsychologia, draws particular attention to the skills learnt in musical performance. When playing pieces to an audience or to themselves musicians must demonstrate heightened awareness of their actions: continually monitoring their playing through auditory feedback and rapidly adjusting their movements to anticipate possible mistakes.

The psychological and mental benefits of learning to play an instrument have been shown in previous studies, with research highlighting musicians’ improved reaction times and their increased capacity to “inhibit task irrelevant information” (aka, to stay focused).

“[The results] suggest that higher levels of musical training might result in more efficient information processing in general (indicated by faster overall speed across tasks without accuracy tradeoff), and confirms earlier reports indicating a positive link between mental speed and musical ability,” says Dr Jentzsch.

The research is notable in that unlike previous studies it focuses on amateur rather than professional musicians, showing that even “moderate levels of musical activity” were beneficial to cognitive performance.

The study also drew attention to the diminishing support for children to learn to play in schools, noting that “in times of economic hardship, funds for music education are often amongst the first to be cut.”

“This is particularly worrying given both anecdotal and limited research evidence suggesting that music can have strong positive effects on our physical as well as psychological functioning.”


6 thoughts on “Musicians spot mistakes more quickly and more accurately than non-musicians – Science – News

  1. Thanks for sharing this… I love hearing about ways in which music improves our lives! One of my main functions at my current office job is to proof all of the material that is published by our University for errors, something I’m apparently good at, and I’m a musician. I guess I can confirm the truth of this!


  2. Hey this was so interesting to read because I minister with music in an Alzeheimer’s ward of a large nursing home. I have always seen how music reaches far beyond cognitive abilities. When I shared with the charge nurse about this paper she wanted to read it also so I printed a copy to share with her. You never know who you will bless when you share!


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