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Classical 101

Want Your Kids to Have Good Brains? Give Them Music Lessons Young.

Scientists have determined that learning at a young age how to play a musical instrument actually enhances the wiring in a certain part of the brain, according to New Scientist magazine. A team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, studied brain scans of 36 musicians, half of whom began their training before age 7, and half of whom began their training later. The researchers found that the musicians who began their training before age 7 had "more extensive wiring and connectivity" in the area of the brain that connects the brain's hemispheres than did those who began their musical studies after age 7. "What we're showing is that early starters have some specific skills and accompanying differences in the brain, but these things don't necessarily make them better musicians," said Christopher Steele, head of the Max Planck Institute research team.

Musical performance is about skill, but it is also about communication, enthusiasm, style and many other things we don't measure. So while starting early may help you express your genius, it won't make you a genius.

Read more: Why Musical Genius Comes Easier to Early Starters (NS)