Music Makes Kids Smarter… Really?

by | Mar 20, 2017 | 0 comments

If you are new mom or even a mom to be you may be wondering if music makes kids smarter?  Should I invest in lessons from an early age?

Thousands of kids quit music lessons before they have given them a real try. And even more kids never bother to start any lessons.  We as parents, need to correct this now.

But is there any need to force children to study music?

Are there any benefits? Can music increase the brainpower of a child?

Or is music-making useless and we should just move towards practical activities that kids should be learning?

Check out this interview with Angela Tuck.  Kindermusik instructor and owner of Heart & Soul Music Studies Angela goes into detail on why it is imperative you introduce your children to music at a young age.

Music Makes Kids Smarter – Interview with Angela Tuck

You’re about to find out if music makes kids smarter!

Below we list information and research results on what we’ve found on this topic.

Some studies suggest that music makes kids smarter and lessons can actually help our children become more intelligent.

The popular belief that music can improve a child’s intelligence is closely tied to a study that was published in 1993 in the magazine ‘Nature’.

Scientists stated that there is a Mozart effect: younger individuals who play instruments can perform a wide variety of tasks better than those who do not play any instrument at all. (Angela and April touch on the Mozart Effect in the video above).

Children were put into two groups and were analyzed.

The kids in the music group showed an increase in full-scale IQ. However, the effect was minimal and their performance was not evaluated according to the standardized measure of academic achievement; therefore not providing very accurate results.

But the study proved that music makes kids smarter and lessons could help children in other ways. In fact, it can help adults too!

For example: musical training for older adults can offset deleterious effects of aging, while for kids training can show better results in the classroom and at home.

This study was later debunked, but the idea that music can make your children smarter is still alive. Let’s see what benefits music lessons can really deliver to a child.

As I was researching this article I have become even more intrigued!

The Benefits of Musical Training

Arguably, music activates many areas of the brain. It significantly reinforces, expands and strengthens several cerebral processes. A few of these processes and areas are:

  • the corpus callosum that is responsible for effective communication between left and right sides of the brain
  • the motor cortex that is responsible for movements. It is involved when you dance, walk, run and so on
  • the sensory cortex that is responsible for our senses, such as vision and audition; it translates stimulations into signals

Furthermore, music also affects the auditory cortex, prefrontal cortex and visual cortex. Altogether, music helps create the harmony of brain waves that result in improved intelligence.

So when you musically train, you will make your brain work more effectively.

Looking to the west at the University of California, Dr. Frances H. Rauscher said “Exposure to music from an early age appears to affect the organization of the central nervous system, making it a precious tool for early childhood educators”.

Even if your kid hates music classes, you can still get him or her engaged by singing in the car or even cooking to their favorite song. These simple activities help children interact with music and further their development skills.

A child who sings is a happy child! 🙂 Click To Tweet

But is musical training really that helpful?

Even if scientists proved that music lessons would benefit kids, they debunked the Mozart effect. The myth that kids gain intelligence is still a myth, and there are no studies that can prove it.

There is some research that shows musicians are smarter than your Average-Joe, but they cannot prove it was the musical training that made them smarter.

Harvard researchers say that music cannot make your child smarter.

When Harvard researchers analyzed the existing studies about the connection between music and intelligence, they found that most of the studies did not use the standards of scientific research, while the others could not report a correlation to intelligence.

Moreover, the IQ increase was so insignificant that it could not be considered as proof or evidence that the “music makes you smarter” theory is accurate.

So, what did Harvard researchers decide to do?  They decided to perform new research and put it to the test.

They gathered a test group of 29 parents and their children. The scientists examined everyone’s performance through testing. The idea was to have parents take a music aptitude test at the beginning of the research while kids took a simpler test simultaneously.

Then, individuals were randomly assigned to either take a visual arts course or music lessons. The same teachers taught the classes.

And after a year participants were asked to take the same test they did at the very beginning of there lessons. These measurements, according to Harvard researchers, are much more accurate than outdated IQ tests.

The Big Reveal

As it turned out, music did not make children or their parents smarter. The participants showed the same results on the tests. Harvard researchers even replicated the study several years later, with 45 parents and 45 children.

Results were the same: there was no evidence found that music lessons made the adults or children smarter.  Adults may not get the same brain-boost that kids do but that does not mean music is useless for them.

These results just show that music education had the strongest effect on children. And even though there is no proof that music makes kids smarter, it is still certainly good for them. These results should not discourage you from thinking musical training should not be a part of education.

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Musical training, as well as other musical activities, will enrich the development of a child. Isn’t that why children’s shows and Disney movies are all comprised of songs and singing?!

As Plato once said, “I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy. But most importantly music, for the pattern in music and all the arts are the keys to learning”.

Music and arts education has been a controversial topic the past several years. It has been a debate – whether these topics and classes should be taught in school.

What are your thoughts? Do you think music education is beneficial to a child’s learning development? Comment and let us know below!

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Writing and blogging has always been an interest of Melissa’s, but never something she pursued until recently. She is an avid reader, collecting books for the library in her home. She says “there is no such thing as too many books”. Her obsession with books and reading is what turned her towards writing. She is a sunny South Florida native with a passion for traveling the world. She loves coffee, Gilmore Girls, dinosaurs, bright lipsticks, she is a vegan and loves all animals. She is a proud mom to one adorable fur-baby, and a loving aunt to two nephews.