Musicians have more brain connections than non-musicians, according to new research published in the Journal of Neuroscience, and these connections are stronger in those who started training at a younger age. This difference appeared whether or not musicians have perfect or absolute pitch, a rare talent to identify a musical note without any reference, and signifies the benefit of environmental stimulation for brain development. “Our findings underline how the human brain is shaped by experience such as long-term, intensive music training,” says lead author Simon Leipold, from the University of Zurich, Switzerland. “This experience-dependent plasticity might be particularly strong for individuals who start intensive training early in life.” The work builds on research over the past couple of decades with experienced musicians using modern neuroimaging techniques to explore how the brain changes with dedicated training. “Musicians have excellent listening skills,” explains Leipold….