Brain changes after learning to read and play music

Neuroimage. 2003 Sep;20(1):71-83. doi: 10.1016/s1053-8119(03)00248-9.


Musically naive participants were scanned before and after a period of 15 weeks during which they were taught to read music and play the keyboard. When participants played melodies from musical notation after training, activation was seen in a cluster of voxels within the bilateral superior parietal cortex. A subset of these voxels were activated in a second experiment in which musical notation was present, but irrelevant for task performance. These activations suggest that music reading involves the automatic sensorimotor translation of a spatial code (written music) into a series of motor responses (keypresses).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Motor Skills
  • Music / psychology*
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reading