Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hand-to-ear Link In Brain Established After Minutes Of Piano Learning

Date:
October 21, 2003
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Contrary to what your music teacher told you, it does not take decades of piano practice to learn to play phrases on the piano without looking at your fingers. A brain map linking finger movements with particular notes begins to form within minutes of starting training, according to research published this week in BMC Neuroscience.

Contrary to what your music teacher told you, it does not take decades of piano practice to learn to play phrases on the piano without looking at your fingers. A brain map linking finger movements with particular notes begins to form within minutes of starting training, according to research published this week in BMC Neuroscience.

Related Articles


Recent brain imaging studies of professional musicians have demonstrated that silent tapping of musical phrases can stimulate auditory areas of the cortex and hearing music can stimulate areas of the motor cortex. Moreover, according to anecdotal evidence, hearing music can cause pianists to move their fingers involuntarily.

To find out how fast links between these two brain areas could be formed Marc Bangert and Eckart Altenmόller, from the Institute of Music Physiology and Musicians' Medicine in Hanover, examined the effects on the brain of taking up a musical instrument from scratch. Their results showed that patterns of brain activity when listening to music or silently tapping a keyboard could be altered after just 20 minutes of piano practice. These changes were enhanced after five weeks of training.

Two groups of beginner pianists undertook ten 20-minute training sessions over the course of five weeks. In these sessions they learned to play back musical phrases they heard on a digital piano. No visual or verbal cues like tone names or score notation, or even their own hands visible on the piano keys, were allowed during training. This policy ensured that the training exercise involved only auditory and motor skills.

The two groups differed slightly in their training regime. The first group (the 'map' group) used digital pianos where the five neighbouring keys had appropriate notes assigned to them. The second group (the 'no-map' group) used pianos where the assignment of notes to the five keys was 'shuffled' after each training trial. The researchers explain: "The 'no-map' group was not given any chance to figure out any coupling between fingers and notes, except the temporal coincidence of keystroke and sound. In other words: these subjects were not given any opportunity to establish an internal 'map' between motor events and auditory pitch targets."

Before and after the first session and after the fifth and tenth sessions the novice pianists were asked to listen passively to short musical phrases and, in a separate test, to arbitrarily press keys on a soundless piano keyboard. During these test sessions the researchers monitored the electrical activity of the students' brains in 30 different places using a technique called electroencephalography. This enabled the researchers to build up maps of brain activity.

The patterns of brain activity after five sessions varied considerably between the two groups. For example the 'map' group activated the motor area for the hand when they were listening to music, whereas the 'no-map' group did not. The researchers also identified another area of the brain, in the right anterior region, which was more active in the 'map' group than the 'non-map' group. This area could be where the note to piano key 'map' is established. Previous research has suggested that this area is involved in the perception of melodic and harmonic pitch sequences. Bangert says, "Interestingly, the respective area in the left hemisphere is where you would find Broca's area, where much of our speech processing happens."

###

BMC Neuroscience (http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcneurosci) is published by BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com), an independent online publishing house committed to providing immediate free access to peer-reviewed biological and medical research. This commitment is based on the view that open access to research is essential to the rapid and efficient communication of science. In addition to open-access original research, BioMed Central also publishes reviews and other subscription-based content.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Hand-to-ear Link In Brain Established After Minutes Of Piano Learning." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 October 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031021063737.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2003, October 21). Hand-to-ear Link In Brain Established After Minutes Of Piano Learning. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031021063737.htm
BioMed Central. "Hand-to-ear Link In Brain Established After Minutes Of Piano Learning." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031021063737.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Binge-Watching TV Linked To Loneliness

Binge-Watching TV Linked To Loneliness

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) — Researchers at University of Texas at Austin found a link between binge-watching TV shows and feelings of loneliness and depression. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Signs You Might Be The Passive Aggressive Friend

Signs You Might Be The Passive Aggressive Friend

BuzzFeed (Jan. 28, 2015) — "No, I&apos;m not mad. Why, are you mad?" Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com
City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) — Model schools are rethinking how they engage with the community to help enhance the lives of the students and their parents. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Rooftop Comedy (Jan. 26, 2015) — A man in Texas saved every penny he found for 65 years, and this week he finally cashed them in. Bank tellers at Prosperity Bank in Slaton, Texas were shocked when Ira Keys arrived at their bank with over 500 pounds of loose pennies stored in coffee cans. After more than an hour of sorting and counting, it turned out the 81 year-old was in possession of 81,600 pennies, or $816. And he&apos;s got more at home! Video provided by Rooftop Comedy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins