Intellectual development

‘Music is beating computers at enhancing early childhood development. Music training, specifically piano instruction, is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children’s abstract reasoning skills necessary for learning math and science. Learning music at an early age causes long-term enhancement of spatial-temporal reasoning.’
Frances Rauscher PhD, Gordon Shaw PhD,
University of California, Irvine, 1997

‘Research shows that piano students are better equipped to comprehend mathematical and scientific concepts. A group of preschoolers received private piano keyboard lessons and singing lessons. A second group received private computer lessons. Those children who received piano/keyboard training performed 34 per cent higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal ability than the others, even those who received computer training. “Spatial-temporal” is basically proportional reasoning – ratios, fractions, proportions and thinking in space and time. This concept has long been considered a major obstacle in the teaching of elementary math and science.’
Neurological Research, 28 February 1997

‘Music training helps under-achievers. In Rhode Island, researchers studied eight public school first grade classes. Half of the classes became “test arts” groups, receiving ongoing music and visual arts training. In kindergarten, this group had lagged behind in scholastic performance. After seven months, the students were given a standardized test. The “test arts” group had caught up to their fellow students in reading and surpassed their classmates in math by 22 per cent. In the second year of the project, the arts students widened this margin even further. Students were also evaluated on attitude and behavior. Classroom teachers noted improvement in these areas also.’
Nature, 23 May 1996

‘Students who were exposed to the music-based lessons scored a full 100 percent higher on fractions tests than those who learned in the conventional manner. Second-grade and third-grade students were taught fractions in an untraditional manner by teaching them basic music rhythm notation. The group was taught about the relationships between eighth, quarter, half and whole notes. Their peers received traditional fraction instruction.’
Neurological Research, March 15, 1999

‘A ten-year study, tracking more than 25,000 students, shows that music-making improves test scores. Regardless of socioeconomic background, music-making students get higher marks in standardized tests than those who had no music involvement. The test scores studied were not only standardized tests, such as the SAT, but also in reading proficiency exams.’
Dr James Catterall, University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) 1997
(from the Children’s Music Workshop, USA)

‘Students who can perform complex rhythms can also make faster and more precise corrections in many academic and physical situations.’
‘Rhythm seen as key to music’s evolutionary role in human intellectual development’,
Center for Timing, Coordination, and Motor Skills, 2000 (from the Children’s Music Workshop, USA)

‘Music students out-perform non-music on achievement tests in reading and math. Skills such as reading, anticipating, memory, listening, forecasting, recall, and concentration are developed in musical performance, and these skills are valuable to students in math, reading, and science.’
B Friedman ‘An evaluation of the achievement in reading and arithmetic of pupils in elementary school instrumental music classes’, Dissertation Abstracts International (from the Children’s Music Workshop, USA)

Research presented at the American Psychological Association’s 2003 Convention showed that music lessons offered children ‘intellectual benefits’ and could even ‘fine-tune their sensitivity to emotion in speech’. Six-year-old children in the study who took music lessons (either keyboard or voice) showed an additional 2.5 point increase in their IQ levels compared with other six-year-old children who were not involved in music. These children were also better able to identify a person’s emotion simply by tone of voice. One of the researchers hypothesized that ‘perhaps the same area of the brain processes both speech prosody and music’, and that ‘training in one domain would act to engage and refine those neural resources’.
J Chamberlin, ‘Are there hidden benefits to music lessons?’,
Monitor on Psychology Vol 34, No 9, American Psychological Association, October 2003

A 2001 report by The College Entrance Examination Board showed that music involvement increased students’ SAT scores. The report says that ‘students in music performance [courses] scored 57 points higher on the verbal and 41 points higher on the math, and students in music appreciation [courses] scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on the math, than students with no arts participation’.
College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile of SAT Program Test Takers.
Princeton, New Jersey, The College Entrance Examination Board, 2001

According to the American Music Conference, ‘In 1999, at PS96 in East Harlem, only 13% of the students performed at grade level in reading or math. Eighteen months after the music program was restored, 71% of the students were performing at grade level. The principal, Victor Lopez, attributes this astounding success to the restoration of the music program.’
American Music Conference informational website

‘In a Scottish study, one group of elementary students received musical training, while another other group received an equal amount of discussion skills training. After six months, the students in the music group achieved a significant increase in reading test scores, while the reading test scores of the discussion skills group did not change.’
Sheila Douglas and Peter Willatts,
Journal of Research in Reading, 1994 (from the Children’s Music Workshop, USA)

‘The Kettle Moraine school district in Wales, Wisconsin is requiring piano lessons for all K-5 pupils after seeing encouraging results from a district pilot program. District officials based their pilot program on research findings that show music training – specifically piano instruction – is far superior to computer instruction in enhancing children’s abstract reasoning skills.’
Karen Abercrombie, Education Week, 14 October 1998

‘In academic situations, students in music programs are less likely to draw unfounded conclusions.’
Champions of Change, Federal study, 1999
(from the Children’s Music Workshop, USA)


Personal and social development

Intellectual development

Educational participation and achievement

Crime and substance abuse

Role models