According to this meta-analysis , recently published in Memory & Cognition , music training does not have significant effects on cognition.
Music has been claimed to boost children’s cognitive abilities and academic performance . Learning to play the violin or piano, recognize pitches, and keep the rhythm are often presented as effective cognitive enhancement tools.
However, the idea that practicing cognitively demanding tasks can lead to general domain cognitive improvement is a very risky claim that contrasts with empirical evidence in cognitive science and educational psychology. In fact, while human cognition has been shown to be malleable and changes as a function of training, skill transfer appears to be limited to the training domain and, at best, to other similar domains.
That is to say, in general terms, it cannot be said that participating in intellectually demanding activities promotes cognitive skills of general domain in particular, or even general intelligence. The results of Bayesian analyzes using distribution assumptions (informative background) derived from previous research on cognitive training corroborate these conclusions.
Furthermore, it is observed that, beyond meta-analysis of experimental studies, a considerable amount of cross-sectional evidence indicates that participation in music has no impact on cognitive abilities or non-musical academic performance of people .
The authors of the meta-analysis thus conclude that the researchers’ optimism about the benefits of music training is empirically unwarranted and is due to misinterpretation of empirical data and possibly confirmation bias .