Learning violin may ‘ease mental illness in children’main
The largest-ever study of musical training and brain development is said to support a theory that learning an instrument, especially the violin, can reduce mental illness in young children more effectively than medication.
The report, by a teams of psychatrists at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, is based on a national database of 232 brain scans of children aged six to 18.
The findings support a hypothesis by lead author James Hudziak that music practice affects a layer of the brain associated with anxiety, depression and aggression.
Noting that three-quarters of U.S. high school students ‘rarely or never’ take extracurricular music and art lessons, the report warns: ‘Such statistics, when taken in the context of our present neuroimaging results, underscore the vital importance of finding new and innovative ways to make music training more widely available to youths, beginning in childhood.’