Music Education: A Source For Brain Power
In today's society, people are constantly looking for new ways to have students produce more from their public education. Some argue that more funding is the answer, while others say that better learning facilities will help. Studies recently conducted show that a simple change in the curriculum will produce the outcome that people are searching for. The simple change is music education. Music education has been shown to improve general academic skills as well as social skills in children. If music classes are added to a child's schedule, they will begin to show an increase in learning that educators are looking for. Get rid of the ideas of more funding and better facilities, all the students need is a simple music course in their everyday lives. Recent studies prove that music education is an effective way to increase the way children perform in overall academics. Jenny Yoon makes it clear in her dissertation to Biola University, that the effects of music education are only positive. Many studies show the connection of music education to academics, test scores, and grades. Research has shown great benefits between music and standardized tests. A study was taken with 5,000 children that took the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS). One fourth of the students were taking part in some kind of music class. In the end, the one fourth of
the enrolled students scored higher overall on the test than the other students. The study also showed that if they continue with music education, they would achieve higher than other students. Furthermore, those students enrolled in music classes "score fifty-one points higher on the verbal section of the SAT and thirty-nine points higher on the mathematics section." (Yoon 9)
A current experiment conducted by Eugenia Costa-Giomi (spring'99) showed incredible results with children and the effect piano lessons had on this group. The test made it clear that children who took piano lessons showed a greater increase in academic ability, than those who didn't take them at all, or even children that dropped out of lessons. The test showed that after two years of instruction, the child who took the lessons showed great increase in general and spatial test scores. The students who dropped out and didn't take lessons, stayed at the average level (Costa 207). Vast results were discovered in cognitive ability as well. The child that took three years of lessons showed and increases of twenty-one percent in total cognitive abilities. She stated that students with more dedication and enthusiasm showed faster growth in their ability to play the piano there was also a greater and faster increase in cognitive ability. She suggests that music educators take note to the studies taken. If the music were mainstreamed into the public school system, then educators, state officials, and parents would find the results that they have been looking for. (Costa 207) A great deal of research has been conducted to show how exactly music education effects the human mind. People want to know how and why music causes these great results. They want to know what does it do to the brain that causes these results to Sanchez 3
occur. Dr. Frances Rauscher, of the University of Wisconsin, led an experiment to find out how music affects the mind. He discovered that music education increased the Spatial reasoning ability. He also found that music helped stimulate neural circuitry. The neural circuitry system of the brain is what helps process information that has been thought to the child. If the neural circuitry system in stimulated, this will result an increased spatial reasoning ability. He tested this by subjecting a person, exposed to music lessons, to figure out a complex puzzle. Although he did not finish the puzzle, he completed a greater amount than his contender who was exposed to no music lessons. Rauscher also claims that...
Cited: Costa-Giomi, Eugenia. "The Effects of Three Years of Piano Instruction on Children 's Cognitive Development." Journal of Music Education 47 (1999) : 198-212
Music Education for Young Children: Media and Research Center. May 2001 http://www.music4kidsonline.com
"Rauscher 's research points to link between Intelligence and Music." Music making and the Brain. July. 1998. AMC. 23 Mar. 2001. http://www.amc-music.com/brain/rauscher.html
Suzuki, Peter. "Children at Risk." Grammy Magazine Aug. 1991: 1-3.
Wilson, Frank R. ed. Music and Child Development: the biology of music making. St. Louis: MMR Music, 1990.
Yoon, Jenny Nam. " Music in the classroom: It 's Influence on Children 's Brain Development, Academic Performance, and Practical life skills." Diss. Biola University, 2000.
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