Interesting research as reported by the Organization for Human Brain Mapping:
A group of scientists from the University of Chicago, led by Steven Small, used MRI scans to study whether patterns of brain activity generated when people move their fingers differ between violinists and non-violinists.
Expert amateur violinists and people with no musical training participated in the study that measured their brain activity while they performed a task that cued them to use one of their fingers to press on a violin string located on a fingerboard placed in their lap. Movement of fingers in the left hand was predicted by activity in the motor brain region in musicians but not non-musicians.
Conversely, movement of fingers in the right hand led to predictable brain activity only in non-musicians. Thus, extensive practice of specific movements of the individual fingers in violinists’ left hands results in reorganized patterns of brain activity.
Curiously, the part of the brain responsible for the right hand is actually less functionally specific in violinists, presumably because using the bow requires more globally synchronized movements of this hand.
The Organization for Human Brain Mapping website…