Why musical genius comes easily to kids who start off early
In a new study, researchers have given new evidence that if parents want their child to excel musically they now have better justification for starting their lessons early.
New confirmation comes from brain scans of 36 highly skilled musicians, split equally between those who started lessons before and after the age of 7, but who had done a similar amount of training and practice.
MRI scans revealed that the white matter in the corpus callosum - the brain region that links the two hemispheres - had more extensive wiring and connectivity in the early starters.
The wiring of the late starters was not much different from that of non-musician control participants, New Scientist reported.
This makes sense as the corpus callosum aids speed and synchronisation in tasks involving both hands like playing musical instruments.
According to Christopher Steele, team leader from Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, younger-trained musicians may have an advantage because their training coincides with a key period of brain development.
At the age of 7 or 8, the corpus callosum is more receptive than ever to the alterations in connectivity necessary to meet the demands of learning an instrument.
However, Steele stresses that these connectivity adaptations are no guarantee of musical genius because musical performance is about skill, but it is also about communication, enthusiasm, style and many other things that are not don't measure.
Conclusively, while starting early may help you express your genius, it won't make you a genius," Steele added.