Effects of musical training on sound pattern processing in high-school students

Wenjung Wang, Laura Staffaroni, Errold Reid, Mitchell Steinschneider, Elyse Sussman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: Recognizing melody in music involves detection of both the pitch intervals and the silence between sequentially presented sounds. This study tested the hypothesis that active musical training in adolescents facilitates the ability to passively detect sequential sound patterns compared to musically non-trained age-matched peers. Methods: Twenty adolescents, aged 15-18 years, were divided into groups according to their musical training and current experience. A fixed order tone pattern was presented at various stimulus rates while electroencephalogram was recorded. The influence of musical training on passive auditory processing of the sound patterns was assessed using components of event-related brain potentials (ERPs). Results: The mismatch negativity (MMN) ERP component was elicited in different stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) conditions in non-musicians than musicians, indicating that musically active adolescents were able to detect sound patterns across longer time intervals than age-matched peers. Conclusions: Musical training facilitates detection of auditory patterns, allowing the ability to automatically recognize sequential sound patterns over longer time periods than non-musical counterparts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-755
Number of pages5
JournalInternational journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Adolescents
  • Auditory
  • Children
  • Event-related potentials (ERPs)
  • Mismatch negativity (MMN)
  • Musicians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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