Photo by Corbis Kids who can bang out “Heart and Soul” on the piano or squeak their way through “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on the violin aren’t just making music — they’re developing lifelong coping skills. According to a new University of Vermont study, children who learn to play musical instruments are better able to control their emotions, reduce anxiety, and focus on any given task. Researchers rounded up 232 kids ages six to 18 and used brain imaging techniques to draw their conclusions. “We found that kids who played any sort of musical instrument had less thinning in the area of the brain associated with emotional regulation and concentration,” study author James Hudziak, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont, tells Yahoo Parenting. His team pulled data from the NIH MRI study of Normal Brain Development, a population-based national sample. STORY: The 5 Types of Moms to Unfriend on Facebook We already know that adults with creative hobbies perform better at work and are able to fight off brain deterioration as they age.