A Musical Inclination

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In recent years, music learning has captured the attention to both researchers and the public. And though there are relatively few completed studies in the field, researchers say their findings are promising. The following are selected studies published over the past five years.

Study Researchers Date Results
Music and Spatial
Task Performance
Frances H. Rauscher, Gordon L. Shaw, and colleagues University of California, Irvine Published in
1993 in Nature
Listening to 10 minutes of a Mozart piano sonata improved the spatial-reasoning skills of a group of college students
Learning Improved by
Arts Training
Martin F. Gardner, Alan Fox, and colleagues

Brown University and the Music School, Providence, R.I.

Published in 1996
in Nature
First and 2nd graders given singing and art lessons that were sequenced in difficulty performed better in math and reading than students who received standard arts instruction.
Music Training Causes Long-Term Enhancement
of Preschool Children's Spatial Temporal Reasoning
Frances H. Rauscher, Gordon L. Shaw, and colleagues University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and University of California, Irvine Published in 1997
in Neurological Research
Weekly keyboard lessons helped preschoolers improve their performance on tests designed to measure spatial-temporal skills. Those children performed 34 percent better than children who had taken either computer lessons or group singing instead.
Increased Corpus Callosum Size in Musicians, Hand Skill Asymmetry in Professional Musicians, and In Vivo Evidence of Structural Brain Asymmetry in Musicians Gottfried Schlaug and colleagues Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass. Published, respectively,
in 1995 in Neuropsychologia, in 1997 in Brain and Cognition, and in 1995 in Nature
Certain regions of the brain are larger in musicians who started their musical training before age 7.

Object Assembly

Children were asked to put together puzzles pieces as part of a study on how music learning affects performance on other tasks. The children who received music training assembled the puzzle faster than those with no training.

Vol. 17, Issue 30, Page 27

Published in Print: April 8, 1998, as A Musical Inclination
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