The Musician's Brain as a Model of Neuroplasticity

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2002 Jun;3(6):473-8. doi: 10.1038/nrn843.


Studies of experience-driven neuroplasticity at the behavioural, ensemble, cellular and molecular levels have shown that the structure and significance of the eliciting stimulus can determine the neural changes that result. Studying such effects in humans is difficult, but professional musicians represent an ideal model in which to investigate plastic changes in the human brain. There are two advantages to studying plasticity in musicians: the complexity of the eliciting stimulus music and the extent of their exposure to this stimulus. Here, we focus on the functional and anatomical differences that have been detected in musicians by modern neuroimaging methods.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Corpus Callosum / anatomy & histology
  • Corpus Callosum / physiology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Music*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Pitch Perception / physiology