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Music and Learning Linked in New Data

2 July 2019
Music and Learning Linked in New Study

A new study suggests children who learn to play an instrument in high school tend to do better on tests and in subjects like: Science, Math and English. When a child is actively playing an instrument, it raises intelligence, more than if only passively listening to music or without any music at all. So, what is the reasoning behind this?

Do Outside Influences Make a Difference?

There is already ample data to suggest the relationship between music and learning. A study was conducted in 1997 by the University of California to monitor students who played an instrument and the correlation of their test scores. Among 25,000 students, those that pursued music tested higher on the SATs and reading proficiency exams than those with no music education. Fast forward 22 years later, the University of British Columbia confirmed the findings of the report and found that other factors like socioeconomic backgrounds did not play a role in the results. Researchers were concerned that the fact that students needed to already have good grades to take music lessons would make it easier for them to obtain higher test scores.

Another factor that was looked at, was the socioeconomic background of these 100,000 students. Neither of these factors impacted the results. Of the 100,000 students researched, the 15,000 that were studying music in high school received better marks than their peers that didn’t take music lessons. The research also examined those who played an instrument to those that sang and found that those playing an instrument had higher scores. The interaction with the musical instrument seems to be the clear factor.

How Does Music Help with Learning and Test Scores?

When the Canadian researchers looked at the students that received better grades it was on subjects like English, Math and Science. There is no distinct explanation as to why playing a musical instrument improved grades in those subjects, but there are possible explanations. When students are learning how to play an instrument there seems to be neurological changes that improves brain functions. Students that learn how to read music and play the notes that are coming up in the sheet music, can help with reading proficiency and retaining more information on a reading exam. Studying music affects memory and planning skills. This could also be a factor for higher math and science scores – with more ability to memorize math equations, functions and formulas.

They also mentioned that there is also a motivational factor that comes with playing music. When time and energy is put into practicing an instrument, they see the results – which can motivate them to apply the same concept to their studies. Lastly, the non-competitive nature of making music together strengthens the student’s social development which would also help when it comes time to study.

Music learning and education in school is proving to make a difference in student’s lives through social and educational components. That’s why some rehabilitation centers are also teaching music to clients to create neurological changes to the mind. Through mental functions like increasing memory of the steps and treatment or motivational functions like determination to stay clean and sober equaling better results in life. Music is crucial to life and research proves that it makes an impact on our brain.