Playing an instrument as a kid leads to a sharper mind in old age, according to a new study. Emory University neuropsychologist Brenda Hanna-Pladdy and her colleagues gave 70 people between the ages of 60 and 83 a battery of tests to measure memory and other cognitive abilities. The researchers found that those who had played an instrument for a decade or longer scored significantly higher on the tests than those with no musical background. Hanna-Pladdy says that music lessons, as with learning a second language, might stave off age-related cognitive decline.
This article was originally published with the title "Musicians Stay Sharp" in SA Mind 22, 4, 7 (September 2011)