7. It Makes Your GPA Better
Study findings published in The Untapped Power of Music: Its Role in the Curriculum and its Effect on Academic Achievement (Joyce Kelstrom, April 1998, NASSP Bulletin, Vol. 82 No. 97, Pages 34-43) – Summary of main points covered on kon.org
According to an intriguing article published in 1998 by Joyce Kelstrom, researchers found that music students had higher achievement in academic subjects outside of music than non-music students.
This isn’t the only time researchers have found that musical performance has been linked to greater academic achievement. The College Entrance Examination Board has found that high school students with a background in music perform better on standardized test scores than those without.
Additionally, as noted in the same article linked above, students who participated in band and orchestra ensembles were found to have better overall GPAs than students who did not participate in those ensembles.
6. Enhances Social Skills
Review of studies published In Trends In Cognitive Sciences (April 2013, Vol. 17 No. 4). Authors are faculty members at McGill University’s Department of Psychology
In what is actually not one study but a review of multiple studies, McGill University researchers have concluded that rhythmically synchronous activities, including dancing, marching, and playing music, foster feelings of social connection via conscious coordination of activity.
The reviewers hypothesize that two specific chemicals – oxytocin and vasopressin – as potential neuropeptides that are released when performing music together, or doing any synchronously rhythmic activity together.
While this all sounds maybe a little bit too science-y, it’s good to know what oxytocin is; popularly known as the “cuddle hormone” due to its importance in fostering romantic bonds, oxytocin is essential in human chemistry for building all types of relationships.
The hypothesis that musical performance releases important chemicals that improve social bonding has been corroborated in other studies on music, including one literally entitled Music Increases Altruism Through Regulating the Secretion of Steroid Hormones and Peptides.
Speaking from personal experience seeing how people grow and bond together in the presence of musical collaboration, I’m definitely convinced that music enhances social skills.
5. Develops Superior Reading Ability
Meta-analysis published in Applications of Research in Music Education (November 2008, Vol. 27, No. 1 Pages 17-32) – Article by Jayne M. Standley
A meta-analysis of 30 studies published in 2008 revealed music education considerably elevates reading ability in children.
The reasoning behind this may be that learning music helps children better understand phonetic patterns and how different alphabetic letters sound when blended together. The correlation between learning the sounds of music and learning the sounds of the alphabet may not be so different.
Besides this, the one universal constant in all of music is that music is based in rhythm. Talking and reading in our heads and aloud is an incredibly rhythmic activity that requires an intuitive understanding of rest at commas, cadences at the end of phrases, timed dynamics in the presence of exclamation marks, and even pitch elevations at the ends of questions (genuinely ask yourself a question aloud and see how the pitch of your voice will slightly elevate).
Seeing how music and language utilize so many fundamentally similar concepts to musical rhythm and pitch, it doesn’t come as a surprise that learning music can significantly enhance reading ability.
4. Sharpens Cognitive Function
Study summary published in The Atlantic
In a relatively recent article published in The Atlantic, the author highlights researchers from Northwestern University who spend time with at-risk youth in Los Angeles participating in musical activities at least 5 hours a week. The goal behind the research is to see how these music lessons impact the cognitive and language skills of these children.
This is what the article states of the scientific conclusions:
“What they are finding, according to Dr. Nina Kraus, a professor and neuroscientist at Northwestern and lead researcher of the study, is that music instruction not only improves children’s communication skills, attention, and memory, but that it may even close the academic gap between rich and poor students.”
How remarkable is this – musical instruction improves so many of the basic rudiments necessary for success in a modern day world.
Such basic things such as developed memory, attention, and communication skills are enhanced with an education in music, and yet so many of our schools continue to cut off arts education programs.
Anyone else with me on this one?