“Music education helps kids learn other challenging subjects, like math.”
Music education gives children sharper skills and increased confidence that help them to master other difficult subjects. Particularly math. But don't just take our word for it! Leading academic experts have researched this phenomenon over the years, and here we've compiled some of their findings for you.
Dr. Frances Rauscher of the University of Wisconsin demonstrated remarkable increases in spatial-temporal IQs of young children exposed to music training. Using a standard IQ test, [the study] found that spatial-temporal IQs of children who received music training were 35 percent (35%) higher than those of children who did not receive training. Eight months after instruction began, the music students’ scores improved by 46 percent (46%) while the scores of children who received no training improved by only 6 percent. These findings were consistent across demographic and socio-economic categories.
In a pilot program, Wisconsin’s School District of Kettle Moraine conducted a similar™ study using kindergarten students rather than preschoolers and group piano keyboard instruction rather than private lessons. By December the piano students scored 33 to 35 percent higher than those who had received no formal music instruction, and by the end of the school year, the difference was an astonishing 46 percent (46%)
The Neurological Report Magazine [March, 1999] published the results of a study by Professor Gordon Shaw of the University of California, Irvine. This project involved second graders from one of the poorest-performing schools in Los Angeles. Students received piano lessons along with a special computer program. After four months, they were tested for their ability to analyze ratios and fractions. Students scored twenty-seven percent (27%) higher than their counterparts from another school district that did not receive piano instruction.
According to The College Board (Profiles of SAT and Achievement Test takers), there is a direct correlation between improved SAT scores and the length of time spent studying music. Those children who studied music for four or more years scored 60 points higher on verbal and 41 points higher on math portions of the SAT (for a combined total of 101 points) than students with no coursework or experience in music.
According to a nationwide survey conducted by the Gallup Organization, more than nine in ten Americans believe music education should be a part of every student’s day. In fact more than three-quarters of the people questioned feel that states should mandate it.
“American Attitudes Toward Music”, conducted for NAMM – International Music Products Association, also found that active music making takes place in half the homes in America. Music participation and support for school music education are both significantly stronger than in an identical poll conducted in 1997. Another significant finding is the sharp increase in the number of people who believe music education helps students succeed in other academic areas.
“The results of this national survey leave no doubt that Americans feel strongly about music,” says NAMM President and CEO Larry Linkin. “It is especially dramatic to see the growing clamor for music education in our schools.”
Among more than 1,500 people surveyed, 95 percent stated that they feel music is part of a well-rounded education (up from 90% in 1997), 93 percent feel schools should offer musical instruction as apart of the regular curriculum (up from 88 percent), and 78 percent (up from 70%) feel states should mandate music education for all students.
Eighty-one percent of respondents said they feel participating in school music corresponds with better grades and test scores, up sharply from 69 percent in 1997. Seventy-five percent said they believe learning a musical instrument helps students do better in other subjects such as math and science, and 73 percent said they believe teens who play an instrument are less likely to have discipline problems.
The survey found that 50 percent of households have one person age five or older who currently plays a musical instrument, up from 38 percent in 1997. Forty percent of households have two or more persons who play a musical instrument, up from 34 percent in 1997. In all, 53 percent of households own a musical instrument, up from 43 percent.