Education and Music, Education and the Arts, Special Education and Music, Special Education and the Arts
Music and high achievement – is there a link?
Remember the Mozart Effect? We were going to become smarter by listening to Mozart? (Thank goodness I’m a violinist!) The theory was all the rage in the ’90’s. Ever wonder what happened to it? Dr. E. Glenn Schellenberg has researched this and other music / psychology questions at his Music and Cognition Lab at the University of Toronto.
His findings about the Mozart Effect indicate that, “Although the original researchers speculated that there was a special link between listening to Mozart and spatial abilities, our research showed that the link is simply one example of how music can make you feel good, and that feeling good often leads to good performance on a variety of tests.”
So listening to any music that we enjoy can increase our mood, and therefore can sometimes increase our performance. However, he also found that if the music is too loud or has lyrics, our performance can go down if we are listening to the music while we do a brain-intensive activity.
What about playing music? Schellenberg has found that music performance seems to cause a small increase in IQ. However, he “also documented that children who take music lessons often have much higher IQs than other children, and that they do even better in school that you would predict from their IQ scores (Corrigall, Schellenberg, & Misura, 2013; Schellenberg, 2006, 2011b), which suggests that good students are particularly likely to take music lessons.”
So if you are a parent, should you invest in music lessons for your child? Yes, if you love music and yes, if your child seems to enjoy it. There appear to be many benefits, both musical and non-musical. However, music likely will not dramatically change your child’s academic life.
Our brains do love music. As I write this, it is snowing and I’m humming, “Oh the weather outside is frightful…”
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