Music Lessons: Benefits for students’ performance in school

Can studying music improve your intelligence? There has been a fair amount of research into the associations between musical education and cognitive developments, and in our last post we mentioned a study involving cortical thickening. Music lessons have been found to help students achieve academically in the classroom, and a Psychology of Music quasi-experimental study revealed that students who were exposed to musical education exhibited higher reading skills than non-musical students. Music lessons involve exercises in rhythm and tone, which are often not taught in other disciplines. Interpreting music may help students with interpreting language, due to similarities in the neural networks that process these types of information. The study mentioned above, The Effect of Piano Lessons on the Vocabulary and Verbal Sequencing Skills of Primary Grade Students, was published in 2009. The researchers looked at two groups of second-grade students: one group from a school that regularly included music education for its students, specifically on the piano, and another group of students from a separate but nearby school that did not incorporate music education. After the ten-month study, the students who studied music had superior end scores on vocabulary and verbal sequencing evaluations. These areas, vocabulary and verbal sequencing, are integral to reading comprehension and literacy development. As parents and teachers, we all hope that our students will succeed academically. Enrolling in music lessons is a fun way for children to work on developing the skills that will help them in the classroom and later in life. Whether it’s improving reading abilities, building confidence, or enhancing focus, music education can help your child on the path to success. The skills learned in the studio transcend beyond our walls, and will be apparent at home and in school. It is very important for parents and educators to avoid clinging onto broad claims that music just makes kids smarter, and instead do the research and examine studies such as the one in this article; reading actual scientific research on the topic will offer you a better understanding of the demonstrated benefits of music education! Cited study: Joseph M. Piro and Camilo Ortiz. The effect of piano lessons on the vocabulary and verbal sequencing skills of primary grade students. Journal Psychology of Music, 16th March 2009. [http://pom.sagepub.com/content/early/2009/03/16/0305735608097248.abstract]