Music lessons make children smarter, new study reveals

28 March 2018, 11:46

music lessons make children smarter

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

A recent study shows that studying music can boost a child’s brainpower and academic ability.

In a study of 147 primary school children, pupils were given music lessons and tested for memory and vocabulary.

The study, by VU University Amsterdam and ArtEZ Institute of the Arts at Zwolle in the Netherlands, found that school children who had music lessons were more competent in other subject areas as a result.

Lead author Dr Artur Jaschke told the Daily Mail: “Children who received music lessons showed improved language-based reasoning and the ability to plan, organise and complete tasks, as well as improved academic achievement.

“This suggests that the cognitive skills developed during music lessons can influence children’s cognitive abilities in completely unrelated subjects, leading to overall improved academic performance.”

The children who received music lessons were also better at planning and controlling their behaviour than children who didn’t have music lessons.

> ‘It's appalling that music is neglected in schools’ – Andrew Lloyd Webber

Music teacher and boy

The report, published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, claims that when reading music, children use parts of their brain involved in memory and attention, which prepares them for other life skills.

“Even though not everybody is a professional musician in the beginning, practising an instrument and the discipline it takes can increase brain function,” said Dr Artur Jaschke.

In the study, children with an average age of six were divided into four groups. Over a period of two and a half years, the first group was given school music lessons, the second school and private music lessons, the third no lessons, and the fourth group were given art lessons only.

Regardless of musical ability, the groups who had either school or private music lessons showed greater memory and vocabulary capabilities.

Their memory was tested by remembering dots in a grid on a screen, and their vocabulary by naming similarities between objects, like a cat and a dog.

The research also found art lessons had a notably positive effect on children’s visual and spatial memory.