Well, you'll have to read it for yourself. (See links below.)Or, in the meantime, just hear this:My take on all the research I've read is that there are indeed solid relationships between music and non-musical skills. The problem is establishing clear causality. All of these studies could be seen as a very promising reason for why to study music or play an instrument.Unfortunately, the research is replete with flawed research design, misinterpretations of data, and exaggerated implications of research findings. Most important to me, and probably to many of you, is that music is worth it for it’s own sake. Many great musicians cannot read music or know theory. In improvisational music, parts of the prefrontal cortex actually are best shut down. There is also this anecdote about a 40-year-old man who cannot tie his shoes and is socially a 4-year-old, and yet, upon first hearing can immediately imitate a Fats Waller composition he’d never heard before from beginning to end. No social, math, language skills got developed there. The outliers may tell more truth than the middle 68%. (I’m a bit of a Gladwell fan, though still skeptical of some of his work.)All that said, still, the preponderance of the evidence is moving in a positive direction toward illuminating benefits of music education. Having read much of this type of literature—many high level research studies by prestigious universities some published in respected peer reviewed journals—my belief is this:People who have the innate nature to be musical—coupled with a rich interactive musical environment at the earliest stages in life—become musical. Period.Then, later on, because of how music is taught (e.g., a whole note = 4, 1/8 note in cut time = 1/16, You have to be good in math or you won’t jump through that hoop!), or because music probably helped brain development in a variety of ways in early and late infancy (rich webs of synaptic connections grown across areas of the brain not otherwise stimulated), those connections are then there to be used in a multiplicity of ways that may make a difference in the development of a variety of non-musical skills. [Bad sentence, but not rewriting this now. Eesh.] Daniel Levitin makes a compelling case in This is Your Brain on Music, and A World in Six Songs. He is both thoughtful and imaginative. I’d like to think he’s right. He's also a good story teller but he didn't attribute some of his writings (where he should have) to the greatest researcher in music psychology, Dr. Edwin Gordon.In the end, if we keep selling the value of music for the sake of the development of non-musical skills, we are selling ourselves out and doing a serious injustice to our profession in the long run, let alone to the children who have exceptionally high music aptitude and yet are low performing in many or most other subjects. Why is there no societal push to have studies that justify how learning Math helps English, or on how Science helps xxx? I find the current climate troublesome and to top it off, it is widely perpetuated by NAfME and the NAMM Foundation. NAMM's recent brochure does not include anything on how music education contributes to one’s ability to be musical. I find this completely out of whack.Rant over. Here are some links to studies you might be able to use.The last paragraph comes closest to my way of thinking. The 'Rasmussen' quoted in the last piece interestingly is NOT me. I just searched for it and found out it is me!! It's from forever ago. PBS got it from ???
Attachments and links:(The download links are all PDF files.)Music and language learning:- - -
Correlation between music and math:- - -Music Lessons, Emotional Intelligence and IQ- - -
Music Training and Second-Language English Comprehension and Vocabulary Skills in Indian Children- - -
Musicians use both sides of their brains more frequently than average people- - -
Early Musical Training and White-Matter Plasticity in the Corpus Callosum: Evidence for a Sensitive Period
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Another I cut and pasted.
Cereb Cortex. 2012 Dec 12. [Epub ahead of print]
Twelve Months of Active Musical Training in 8- to 10-Year-Old Children Enhances the Preattentive Processing of Syllabic Duration and Voice Onset Time.
Chobert J, François C, Velay JL, Besson M.
Laboratoire de Neurosciences Cognitives, CNRS - Aix-Marseille Université, Marseille Cedex 3, France.
Improved Test Scores
A study published in 2007 by Christopher Johnson, professor of music education and music therapy at the University of Kansas, revealed that students in elementary schools with superior music education programs scored around 22 percent higher in English and 20 percent higher in math scores on standardized tests, compared to schools with low-quality music programs, regardless of socioeconomic disparities among the schools or school districts. Johnson compares the concentration that music training requires to the focus needed to perform well on a standardized test.
Aside from test score results, Johnson’s study highlights the positive effects that a quality music education can have on a young child’s success. Luehrisen explains this psychological phenomenon in two sentences: “Schools that have rigorous programs and high-quality music and arts teachers probably have high-quality teachers in other areas. If you have an environment where there are a lot of people doing creative, smart, great things, joyful things, even people who aren’t doing that have a tendency to go up and do better.”
And it doesn’t end there: along with better performance results on concentration-based tasks, music training can help with basic memory recall. “Formal training in music is also associated with other cognitive strengths such as verbal recall proficiency,” Pruett says. “People who have had formal musical training tend to be pretty good at remembering verbal information stored in memory.”
Music can improve your child’ abilities in learning and other nonmusic tasks, but it’s important to understand that music does not make one smarter. As Pruett explains, the many intrinsic benefits to music education include being disciplined, learning a skill, being part of the music world, managing performance, being part of something you can be proud of, and even struggling with a less than perfect teacher.
“It’s important not to oversell how smart music can make you,” Pruett says. “Music makes your kid interesting and happy, and smart will come later. It enriches his or her appetite for things that bring you pleasure and for the friends you meet.”
While parents may hope that enrolling their child in a music program will make her a better student, the primary reasons to provide your child with a musical education should be to help them become more musical, to appreciate all aspects of music, and to respect the process of learning an instrument or learning to sing, which is valuable on its own merit.
“There is a massive benefit from being musical that we don’t understand, but it’s individual. Music is for music’s sake,” Rasmussen [NOT ME, Oh, it IS ME!! from forever ago. PBS, where did you get my quote??] says. “The benefit of music education for me is about being musical. It gives you have a better understanding of yourself. The horizons are higher when you are involved in music,” he adds. “Your understanding of art and the world, and how you can think and express yourself, are enhanced.”
As always, I'd love your thoughts.