There is a widespread view that learning to play a musical instrument in childhood stimulates cognitive development and leads to enhanced skills in a wide variety of areas, including mathematics and general IQ. Now, in a recent scientific study done by Harvard medical school, Boston College and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the experts found that Children who study a musical instrument for at least three years outperform children with no instrumental training on non-musical tests of vocabulary and non-verbal reasoning. Both the above skills are essential for a child’s developing intelligence.
This new finding adds to a list of music's magic. Tests showed the kids who practiced instruments scored much higher than their non-musical counterparts on auditory discrimination and finger dexterity, both skills closely tied with musical training. The longer the child was musically trained, the higher the scores.
Psychologist Ellen Winner, one of the experts who conducted the study said “It could be that kids who are better at these skills to begin with are the ones who stick with music training," Winner said. "So if I'm a really smart kid I'm more likely to stick with music training."
"Music involves grasping patterns, and the non-verbal reasoning task involves grasping patterns," Winner told Live Science magazine. "You have to pay attention to the pattern of sounds, and you also have to pay attention to the pattern of the notes when you're looking at music notation."
*The study was done by Harvard Medical School, psychologist Ellen Winner of Boston College and Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Gottfried Schlaug of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and their colleagues.
The findings were detailed in the Oct. 29 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE.
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