People of all ages enjoy listening to music, yet most research in musical development has concentrated on infancy through childhood. Our recent research program examined various aspects of music cognition in younger (ages 18 through 30) and older adults (ages 60 through 80) with varying amounts of musical experience. The studies investigated the independent and combined influences of age and experience on a wide assortment of long and short-term memory tasks. Results showed that some musical tasks reflect the same age-related declines as seen in nonmusical tasks, and musical training does not reduce these age-related declines. In other tasks, experience differences were larger than age differences; in some cases, age differences were nonexistent. The analysis considers how aging and experience may affect different aspects of cognition, and the paper concludes by pointing out the many musical activities that even nonmusical seniors are well equipped to succeed at and enjoy.
Halpern, Andrea R. and Bartlett, J.C.. "Aging and memory for music: A review." Psychomusicology (2002) : 10-27.