Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Music education and practice improves academic performance (study)

MSNBC has reported on a LiveScience story about the benefits of musical training. By Jeanna Bryner, the item is titled “Young musicians get smarter: Children who study music for at least 3 years score higher on cognitive tests,” link here.

Music education improves both vocabulary, non-verbal reasoning and probably mathematics skills, sometimes quite sizably.

The study is to be published in Plos One, and was conducted by Gottfried Schlaug and Ellen Winner at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School and Harvard Graduate School of Education. The two collaborators have another study “Research shows that time invested in practicing pays off for young musicians” here.

Anecdotally, when substitute teaching I noticed that high school students who perform publicly either in music or drama tend to do better in all subjects. A few major young actors or performers in Hollywood (including Zac Efron and Jared Padalecki) were known to be very good students in high school.

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