Friday, January 17, 2014

Will Music Make Your Child Smarter?

I have always thought that music helps with learning. I believe that music helps with focusing, especially with studying. I listen to classical music to help me focus, while studying. I don't use it because I think it will make me smarter. I listen to it because it helps me focus and recall things better. I have always been told that playing a musical instrument will make you smarter. I believe that playing an instrument benefits anyone in a different way than just making you smarter. I believe it helps you study better, listen better, and focus better. According to this article, there is no significant evidence that playing an instrument makes children smarter. I think it is important to continue playing instruments even if there is no beneficial factor to it. Music has always been part of culture and it is important to continue it. 

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11, 2013 (HealthDay News) — If Johnny doesn’t take to the violin, don’t fret. A new study challenges the widely held belief that music lessons can help boost children’s intelligence.
“More than 80 percent of American adults think that music improves children’s grades or intelligence,” study author Samuel Mehr, a graduate student in the School of Education at Harvard University, said in a university news release.
“Even in the scientific community, there’s a general belief that music is important for these extrinsic reasons — but there is very little evidence supporting the idea that music classes enhance children’s [mental] development,” he noted.
In this study, Mehr and his colleagues randomly assigned 4-year-old children to receive instruction in either music or visual arts.
“We wanted to test the effects of the type of music education that actually happens in the real world, and we wanted to study the effect in young children, so we implemented a parent-child music enrichment program with preschoolers,” Mehr explained. “The goal is to encourage musical play between parents and children in a classroom environment, which gives parents a strong repertoire of musical activities they can continue to use at home with their kids.”
Both groups of children later underwent vocabulary, math and spatial skills tests. There was no evidence that the 15 children in the music group had any intellectual advantage over the 14 in the visual arts group.
The researchers then conducted a second experiment that included 45 children, with half receiving music training and half receiving no training. Again, the researchers found that music lessons did not provide any brain benefit, according to the study published Dec. 11 in the journal PLoS One.
While the findings suggest that music lessons won’t improve a child’s school grades, music education is still important, according to Mehr.
“There’s a compelling case to be made for teaching music that has nothing to do with extrinsic benefits. We don’t teach kids Shakespeare because we think it will help them do better on the SATs, we do it because we believe Shakespeare is important,” he said.
“Music is an ancient, uniquely human activity — the oldest flutes that have been dug up are 40,000 years old, and human song long preceded that,” Mehr noted. “Every single culture in the world has music, including music for children. Music says something about what it means to be human, and it would be crazy not to teach this to our children.”
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