New research shows just why being a musical child is so important.
“Music Enrichment Programs Improve the Neural Encoding of Speech in At-Risk Children,” was the first of its kind, according to Northwestern, that observed the effects of musical training on children involved in an already-existing program that targets at-risk kids.
“This research demonstrates that community music programs can literally ‘remodel’ children’s brains,” Nina Kraus, the lead author of the study, said.
“In that study, the research team observed students from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds andfound that lower-income students had weaker, more chaotic neural responses than those of their peers. Researchers posited that “musical intervention” might help bridge the achievement gap by actually changing childrens’ brains and enabling more learning.”
In another article about the same study:
“In 2009, California diverted $109 million from music programs, resulting in closed music departments across half of California’s 10,000-plus public schools.”
” An epic longitudinal study by researchers at the German Institute for Economic Research concluded in no uncertain terms that music training “improves cognitive and non-cognitive skills more than twice as much as sports, theater or dance.”
“Disadvantaged students who performed with their school band or orchestra were more than twice as likely to be performing at the highest levels of math than peers who did not receive musical training. “
“Music education also does major work on the language-processing parts of our brains. To learn to read, children need to have “good working memory, the ability to disambiguate speech sounds and make quick sound-to-meaning connection,” explains professor Nina Kraus, director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University. “
“And once again, musical skills are absolutely essential to low-income students for whom English may be a second language — students who might otherwise struggle to keep up with their peers.”