Childhood music lessons may pay big dividends later in life by keeping the mind healthy. Older musicians perform better on tests of memory and other cognitive factors than peers who have never learned to play an instrument, according to a study by the American Psychological Association.
Healthy adults ages 60-83 were tested on nonverbal memory, naming objects and cognitive ability to adapt to new information. “Highly active musicians”-those who had studied music for a decade or more-did best, followed by those who had studied for up to 9 years, while non-musicians fared less well.
All of the musicians in the study were amateurs and had begun playing an instrument at about 10 years of age. “Musicial activity throughout life may serve as a challenging cognitive exercise, making your brain fitter and more capable of accommodating the challenges of aging” said lead researcher Brenda Hanna-Pladdy, PhD.