There might be something to the saying, “you’ve got the music in you.” A new genetic study in the journal Nature Human Behavior led by researchers at Vanderbilt University and 23andMe found more than 60 regions of the genome associated with beat synchronization, the ability to move in time with the beat of music.
The past decade in particular has been marked by a dramatic increase in music cognition inquiry, as about 100 laboratory groups around the world, including at Vanderbilt, are working across disciplines to understand music’s relationship to the brain, behavior and health, and to develop effective intervention strategies.
Music is everywhere in modern life, even during quarantine times of Covid-19. Yet individuals vary a lot in their music abilities. In my lab we are particularly focused on studying people’s rhythm skills. Some folks pick up rhythms easily – they can tap in time to the beat, dance, and learn new songs almost effortlessly. Other people may struggle more with rhythm – they may not really hear the beat in music. Across the population, it turns out that there is a huge range of rhythm abilities! Have you ever wondered why this could be?
With schools and daycares closed, many parents are looking for activities to engage in with their young children. As part of the National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab project awarded to the Vanderbilt Music Cognition Lab in 2018, our Research Lab studies how parent-child musical activities may support families of children with and without developmental disabilities.