Leaving a recent recital at Koerner Hall, as I passed a table devoted to The Royal Conservatory’s educational programs, my attention was caught by a colourful folded-up glossy info sheet in the form of a poster with an intriguing sentence coated in two colours under a headline which is also the headline of this article: The Benefits of Music Education.
“Neuroscientists have demonstrated that learning to play an instrument or sing leads to changes in a child’s brain that make it more likely they will reach their full cognitive and academic potential,” it stated. As I read further, the message continued connecting music education to cognitive development, promising stronger connections between brain regions, more grey matter, improved brain structure and function, better memory and attention. Even a higher IQ.
“Speech and reading skills dramatically improved in young children taking music lessons after only four weeks of music training.” I kept going. “Elementary school students in higher quality music education programs had 20 percent improvement in standardized tests of English and math.”
This was heady stuff and gratifying to behold offering further confirmation of the undeniable benefits of music on the developing brain.
The cognitive benefits of music education were then broken down into IQ, Working Memory and Creativity. It was fascinating see scientific evidence of increased IQ scores among children who take music lessons compared to children in drama classes or those who did neither. Additionally, individuals who are musically trained show better working memory abilities than those who are not, something that is crucial to mental arithmetic and reading comprehension. Scientists also found a marked difference in communication between the right and left sides of the brain (which fosters creativity) in individuals with musical training than in those without.
I was already eager to learn more by visiting rcmusic.ca/resources to download a copy of The Benefits of Music Education when I noticed the quotation on the lower right of the poster:
Below the text were the words Albert Einstein.