Music is entertainment for the humanities or an aid to learning? Scientists vote for the second answer. British Columbia recently analyzed the academic performance of 112,000 high school students. It turned out that those who began studying music in junior high school, not only better passed the test in all subjects, but in some disciplines a year ahead of their peers. The study was published in the Journal of Educational Psychology. High school students often write essays about music in school. Those who have been involved in music since childhood do it better. If you find it difficult to write a music essay, contact edit my paper service to get expert help. Professionals know how to make your paper unique and exciting.
Let’s explore exactly how learning music (both vocal and instrumental) affects performance in school, and what other bonuses there are.
Coordination and concentration
Coordination is especially systematically developed when learning to play a musical instrument. Then the child develops sight, hearing, touch, and muscular apparatus (including fine motor skills) at the same time and in close interrelation.
For example, playing the piano strengthens the eye muscles, expands the field of vision, and accelerates the movement of impulses from the hands to the brain and back. Pianists extract up to 1,800 notes per minute by adjusting volume and pressure fluctuations. So, to create a melody, a child automatically learns to be concentrated and flexible: he keeps the entire keyboard in sight, the sheet music, hears his sound and controls the movements of both hands. Practically becomes his conductor.
The usefulness of regular music lessons for the harmonious development of the brain is also confirmed by data from conventional medical studies (e.g., magnetic resonance imaging). MRI people who have studied music since childhood show a more symmetrical brain structure, where the right and left hemispheres are equally developed.
Our short-term memory can store about 7 bits of information. That’s not much, but related groups of data (including rhythmic groups), are remembered by us as 1 bit. That is, by learning musical rhythms, a child can learn many times more information with the same effort.
In their research junior high school, students learned to repeat rhythms after the teacher learned other material many times faster.
The Dutch confirm the research of the Russians. They tested 147 children, some of whom added music lessons in the junior high school program, and some of whom did not. So, after 2.5 years, the performance of “musical” schoolchildren increased, and especially high was the ability to remember information. The study was published in Frontiers in Neuroscience.
IQ (or intelligence quotient) of a child is also in direct proportion to the music lessons. The reason for this is both the pleasure a child gets from listening to music and the activation of memory.
Data on IQ was presented at a conference at the Brain Institute in Melbourne, by psychologist Glenn Shellenberg. He conducted a large-scale, year-long study where he tested first-graders from four groups. In the first children mastered playing the piano, in the second – singing, in the third – attended acting classes, and in the fourth – did not do any creative work at all. The children’s IQ levels increased unevenly by the summer break. Kids who were deprived of creativity had the smallest increase, only 3.9 points and those who did vocal training advanced the furthest (by 7.6 points).
Don’t think that music lessons improve performance only in humanities subjects like literature and history. Not at all. Famous mathematicians and natural scientists were strong musicians. For example, Feynman, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, played the drums. Bell, an inventor of the telephone, played the piano, and microbiologist Koprowski, an author of the polio vaccine, even composed his opuses. The most textbook example is Albert Einstein, who played the violin from the age of four. His wife recalled, “Music helped him think about theories. He would go into his study, play a couple of notes, write something down and go back to work.”
Speech and foreign languages
Music lessons allow us to distinguish shades of different timbres and pitches and develop our hearing. These skills are exactly what a child needs when learning a native and especially a foreign language.
The connection between music and speech is confirmed by neurolinguists. Brain areas that process music, are close to or directly in the same places as the speech.
That is, music – a companion to speech, it teaches the child to catch details, intonation, and emotion. Vocabulary also has a machine, but speaking and creative writing – you need musicianship, rhythm and it is music lessons that will help a child develop it.
“I am convinced that every child should be taught music because it is a fine and subtle neural network adjustment – and it does not matter whether he will become a professional or not,” – says Tatiana Chernigovskaya. By the way, she also noted that those who are engaged in music since childhood, improve their brains and move away from years of Alzheimer’s disease.
The ability to come up with an unconventional solution to a problem is one of the most in-demand skills (all the rest are or will soon be mastered by robots). It turns out that practicing music develops creativity almost better than painting.
Canadian psychologist Sylvain Moreno experimented with two groups of children. One group spent 40 hours studying the program of artistic development, while the other group of children sang, did rhythmic exercises, and listened to music. After testing for out-of-the-box problem solving, he found that the musicians concentrated faster, absorbed new information better, and worked with it better than the students in the art class.
In addition to speeding up the brain, practicing music calms, relieves anxiety, and improves sleep. And is not it important for students, especially on the eve of tests and final examinations?
The anti-stress aspect of music has been described by Victoria Williamson, a researcher in music psychology at the University of Sheffield. In her book, Victoria shared the results of research over the past 20 years. It turns out that “music therapy,” and especially music therapy, is recognized by doctors as a complementary method for treating depression, insomnia, and more serious disorders.