Thursday, November 13, 2008

More Evidence for the Benefits of Music

A new study suggests that music makes children smarter, particularly in vocabulary. However, the authors claim that "Contrary to previous research, instrumental music training was not associated with heightened spatial skills, phonemic awareness, or mathematical abilities." This does not mean that there is no connection, as a great deal of other research has shown, only that they did not find it in this particular study. They did find a connection to improved verbal abilities, though. A general improvement in cognitive abilities makes a great deal of sense since development of the ability to play a musical instrument helps one understand the world better. "Music involves grasping patterns," and the world is deeply patterned. Further, music is structured much like grammar, and thus it makes sense that it helps with language and reasoning. In fact, "The young musicians' vocabulary scores were 15 percent higher, and non-verbal reasoning scores were 11 percent higher. The longer the child was musically trained, the higher the scores." This is a pretty significant improvement. Makes me glad I have my daughter, Melina, in a music class already. Besides, she loves it. She will definitely be learning how to play a musical instrument when she gets a bit older. In the meantime, I find it remarkable that music isn't a dominant part of all education in the U.S., starting in Kindergarten. If we really wanted students to learn more and become more intelligent, we would implement this kind of information.
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