Researcher Notes Measured Benefits for Youngsters Taking Music Lessons

A new study reaffirms the commonly-held belief that exposure to music lessons has beneficial impact on the intellectual development of young children.

The study by University of Toronto psychology professor Glenn Schellenberg finds that after one year of keyboard and voice lessons, six-year-olds gained an average of six and eight points respectively on intelligence quotient (IQ) tests.

Dr. Schellenberg says because he is naturally skeptical, he was surprised by the association between music lessons and IQ. “I think it's probably just an exaggeration of the schooling effect, so the mere act of attending school raises IQs,” the researcher says. “But [for] kids who attend music lessons, [those lessons] may represent another form of schooling that boosts the effect a little bit more.”

Schellenberg says music lessons involve a variety of experiences that could generate improvement in a wide range of abilities. According to the study, those enhanced abilities include improved literacy and numeracy skills, as well as increased capacity for reasoning and critical thinking.

The same study found that comparable non-musical activities do not have similar consequences. For example, students who took drama lessons gained five points, while children without lessons increased only four points on IQ tests. However, one year of drama lessons had a positive impact on students' social behavior.

“The music groups had slightly larger increases in IQ than the other kids during first grade, but the drama group had benefits in social skills,” Schellenberg says.

The University of Toronto professor says his study offers a “take-home message” for parents: “if you can afford it, getting your kids away from the TV and involved in extracurricular group activities is a good thing for development.”

(This article courtesy of Agape Press).

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