“students who learned fractions through rhythm notation scored 100% higher on a test”
“children who had significant musical performance experience “scored 57 points higher on the verbal portion of the [SAT]”
Teach Your Child Music! Explode His/Her Potential by Offering a Musical Education
Whether you’re a happy new parent who just bought your 18-month-old his first xylophone or you’re the proud mother of precocious twin 5-year-old girls who’ve shown a knack for musical aptitude since the age of two, you have probably heard a lot from fellow parents, educators, and experts in the media about the relationship between musical education and lifetime success.
Truth be told, teaching your child to play scales, master composition, or hone her rhythmic and tonal skills won’t guarantee her a future slot in a Ivy League school. But a surprising amount of evidence suggests that musical education can have both wide and deep benefits for children.
Consider, for instance, research done by the College Board (the company that develops the SATs and other achievement tests), which found that children who had significant musical performance experience “scored 57 points higher on the verbal portion of the [SAT] and 41 points higher on the math portion than students with no course work/experience in the arts.”
Another study, published in Neurological Research in 1999, found that students who learned fractions through rhythm notation scored 100% higher on a test of fractions than students who learned fraction math in a standard conventional setting. A study by Dr. James Catterall inUCLA – that tracked over 25,000 students – suggested that music-making students score better on a variety of proficiency exams. Other tests suggest that those who learn musical skills willunderstand math better, get into medical school, enjoy higher emotional health, and improve thefunctional capacity of the right brain to stimulate creativity.
Of course, skeptics point out that some of these studies are correlational, so you shouldn’t draw conclusions. In other words: sure there’s a relationship between people who perform well on tests and musical ability – but that relationship does not necessarily imply causation. It could be that some other factor – for instance, a genetic tendency to be BOTH smart AND musical could explain what’s going on. Thus, practicing more music won’t necessarily make you smarter.
Then again, other evidence suggests that the relationship is far more robust – that is, learning music actually fundamentally changes the brain in positive ways. Albert Einstein once famously said that if he had not been a physicist, he would be a musician: “It [the theory of relativity]occurred to me by intuition and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was through results of musical perception.”
Of course, to develop effective musical proficiency, you need good instruments, good teachers,and the discipline and passion to follow up. If you live in the Bay Area, the dedicated and knowledgeable staff at Pianos Plus can help you select the most appropriate piano for your children (or students) to use and provide piano lessons so they explore and develop their musical capacities. Visit us on the web at www.pianosplus.com, or call us for an appointment at 510-581-1616.