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Front Psychol. 2015 Apr 28;6:475. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00475. eCollection 2015.

Musical training as an alternative and effective method for neuro-education and neuro-rehabilitation.

Author information

1
Department of Basic Psychology, University of Barcelona , Barcelona, Spain ; Cognition and Brain Plasticity Group, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute , Barcelona, Spain.
2
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Parc de Salut Mar, Hospitals del Mar i de l'Esperança , Barcelona, Spain.
3
Department of Basic Psychology, University of Barcelona , Barcelona, Spain ; Cognition and Brain Plasticity Group, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute , Barcelona, Spain ; Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies , Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

In the last decade, important advances in the field of cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience have largely contributed to improve our knowledge on brain functioning. More recently, a line of research has been developed that aims at using musical training and practice as alternative tools for boosting specific perceptual, motor, cognitive, and emotional skills both in healthy population and in neurologic patients. These findings are of great hope for a better treatment of language-based learning disorders or motor impairment in chronic non-communicative diseases. In the first part of this review, we highlight several studies showing that learning to play a musical instrument can induce substantial neuroplastic changes in cortical and subcortical regions of motor, auditory and speech processing networks in healthy population. In a second part, we provide an overview of the evidence showing that musical training can be an alternative, low-cost and effective method for the treatment of language-based learning impaired populations. We then report results of the few studies showing that training with musical instruments can have positive effects on motor, emotional, and cognitive deficits observed in patients with non-communicable diseases such as stroke or Parkinson Disease. Despite inherent differences between musical training in educational and rehabilitation contexts, these results favor the idea that the structural, multimodal, and emotional properties of musical training can play an important role in developing new, creative and cost-effective intervention programs for education and rehabilitation in the next future.

KEYWORDS:

language development disorders; music therapy; music training; neuro-education; neuro-rehabilitation; stroke rehabilitation

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