A study by Dr Nina Krauss and Dana L Strait at Northwestern University concludes that musician children and adults who make music demonstrate biological distinctions in auditory processing when compared with non-musicians.
For example, musician children and adults have more robust neural encoding of speech harmonics, more adaptive sound processing, and more precise neural encoding of acoustically similar sounds; these enhancements may make musicians better at hearing speech in amongst noise (see also this post here about focused attention), and reading.
Although it isn’t possible to separate the effects from the demographic and innate qualities that may pre-distinguish musicians, because the lab works with community music programmes involving a wide range of young people including those in challenging circumstances, the outcomes indicate that many of musicians’ auditory-related biological enhancements can develop through musical training and so this may well promote the acquisition of language skills, including in ‘at-risk’ populations.
Brainvolts (Northwestern University): http://www.brainvolts.northwestern.edu/documents/Kraus_Strait_NYAS_2015.pdf
Read more on the Music Education Works website