Monday, March 21, 2011
VH1 - Save the Music
Fact Sheet on Music Education Research
1) The Benefits to the Brain: Cognitive Development
Students in high-quality school music education programs score higher on standardized tests compared to students in schools with deficient music education programs, regardless of the socioeconomic level of community.
Playing a musical instrument significantly enhances the brainstem's sensitivity to speech sounds. This relates to encoding skills involved with music and language. Experience with music at a young age can "fine-tune" the brains auditory system.
— Nature Neuroscience, April 2007
Results From The Elementary School Study
• Students in top-quality music programs scored 22% better in English and 20% better in mathematics than students in deficient music programs.
• These academic differences were fairly consistent across geographic regions.
• Students at the four elementary schools with high-quality music programs scored better than students participating in programs considered to be of lower quality.
Results From The Middle Schools Study
• Students in top-quality instrumental programs scored 19% higher in English than students in schools without a music program, and 32% higher in English than students in a deficient choral program.
• Students in top-quality instrumental programs scored 17% higher in mathematics than children in schools without a music program, and 33% higher in mathematics than students in a deficient choral program.
• Students at schools with excellent music programs had higher English test scores across the country thanstudents in schools with low-quality music programs; this was also true when considering mathematics.
• Students in all regions with lower-quality instrumental programs scored higher in English and mathematics than students who had no music at all.
— Journal for Research in Music Education, June 2007; Dr. Christopher Johnson, Jenny Memmott
Young Children who take music lessons show different brain development and improved memory over the course of a year, compared to children who do not receive musical training. Musically trained children performed better in a memory test that is correlated with general intelligence skills such as literacy, verbal memory, visiospatial processing, mathematics, and IQ.
— Dr. Laurel Trainor, Prof. of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behavior at McMaster University, 2006
Stanford University research has found for the first time that musical training improves how the brain processes the spoken word, a finding that researchers say could lead to improving the reading ability of children who have dyslexia and other reading problems… ‘Especially for children ... who aren't good at rapid auditory processing and are high-risk for becoming poor readers, they may especially benefit from musical training.’
— From “Playing music can be good for your brain,” SF Chronicle, November 17, 2005 (article on recent Stanford research study linking music and language)
The musician is constantly adjusting decisions on tempo, tone, style, rhythm, phrasing, and feeling –
training the brain to become incredibly good at organizing and conducting numerous activities at once. Dedicated practice of this orchestration can have a great payoff for lifelong attention skills, intelligence, and an ability for self-knowledge and expression.
— From A User’s Guide to the Brain, May 31, 2003; Ratey, John J., MD
Learning and performing music actually exercise the brain – not merely by developing specific music skills, but also by strengthening the synapses between brain cells…What is important is not how well a student plays but rather the simultaneous engagement of senses, muscles, and intellect. Brain scans taken during musical performances show that virtually the entire cerebral cortex is active while musicians are playing. Can you think of better exercise for the mind/brain? In short, making music actively engages the brain synapses, and there is good reason to believe that it increases the brain's capacity by increasing the strengths of connections among neurons.
— From “The Music in Our Minds,” Educational Leadership, Vol. 56, #3; Norman M. Weinberger
Music enhances the process of learning. The systems it nourishes, which include our integrated sensory, attention, cognitive, emotional and motor capacities, are shown to be the driving forces behind all other learning.
— From Empathy, Arts and Social Studies, 2000; Konrad, R.R.
Taking piano lessons and solving math puzzles on a computer significantly improves specific math skills of elementary school children. Children given four months of piano keyboard training, as well as time playing with newly designed computer software, scored 27 percent higher on proportional math and fractions tests than other children.
— From Neurological Research, March 15, 1999; Gordon Shaw, Ph.D, University of California, Irvine
Researchers at the University of Munster in Germany reported their discovery that music lessons in childhood actually enlarge the brain. An area used to analyze the pitch of a musical note is enlarged 25% in musicians, compared to people who have never played an instrument. The findings suggest the area is enlarged through practice and experience. The earlier the musicians were when they started musical training, the bigger this area of the brain appears to be.
— From Nature, April 23, 1998; Christian Pantev, et al
Nowhere in the spectrum of arts learning effects on cognitive functioning are impacts more clear than in the rich archive of studies, many very recent, that show connections between music learning or musical experiences and fundamental cognitive capability called special reasoning. Music listening, learning to play piano and keyboards, and learning piano and voice all contribute to spatial reasoning…In the vast literature on spatial reasoning (about 3,000 studies in some bibliographies), it is clear that mathematical skills as well as language facility benefit directly from spatial reasoning.
— From James S. Catterall, UCLA, Fall 1997
2) The Benefits to Students: Personal and Academic Success
Nearly 100% of past winners in the prestigious Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science, and Technology (for high School students) play one or more musical instruments. This led the Siemens Foundation to host a recital at Carnegie Hall in 2004, featuring some of these young people. After which a panel of experts debated the nature of the apparent science/music link.
— The Midland Chemist (American Chemical Society) Vol. 42, No.1, Feb. 2005
Students consistently involved in orchestra or band during their middle and high school years performed better in math at grade 12. The results were even more pronounced when comparing students from low-income families. Those who were involved in orchestra or band were more than twice as likely to perform at the highest levels in math as their peers who were not involved in music.
— From Catterall, James S., Richard Chapleau, and John Iwanaga (2002), “Involvement in the Arts and Human Development: Extending an Analysis of General Associations and Introducing the Special Cases of Intensive Involvement in Music and Theatre Arts.” In R. Deasy (Ed.), Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Achievement and Social Development, Washington, DC: AEP.
Students at risk of not successfully completing their high school educations cite their participation in the arts as reasons for staying in school. Factors related to the arts that positively affected the motivation of these students included a supportive environment that promotes constructive acceptance of criticism and one where it is safe to take risks.
— From The Role of the Fine and Performing Arts in High School Dropout Prevention, 2002; Barry, N., J. Taylor, and K. Walls
Dr. James Catterall of UCLA has analyzed the school records of 25,000 students as they moved from grade 8 to grade 10. He found that students who studied music and the arts had higher grades, scored better on standardized tests, had better attendance records and were more active in community affairs than other students. He also found that students from poorer families who studied the arts improved overall school performance more rapidly than all other students.
— From Catterall, UCLA, Fall 1997