As we enter into the second half of the summer, our minds begin to prepare for the coming school year. It starts with shopping for new clothes and picking out a backpack. Before you know it, it'll be time to start choosing your classes and making your schedule. You may be trying to decide which programs and activities you'd like to participate in. If you're thinking about doing band, choir, or orchestra, consider some of these facts when making your decision!
Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically-trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. -Strait, D.L. and N. Kraus, "Biological impact of auditory expertise across the life-span: musicians as a model of auditory learning"; Hearing Research, 2013.
Music training leads to greater gains in auditory and motor function when begun in young childhood; by adolescence, the plasticity that characterizes childhood has begun to decline. Nevertheless, our results establish that music training impacts the auditory system even when it is begun in adolescence, suggesting that a modest amount of training begun later in life can affect neural function. -Adam T. Tierney, Jennifer Krizman, Nina Kraus, "Music training alters the course of adolescent auditory development"; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2015.
Individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound: young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. -"Music, hearing, and education: from the lab to the classroom"; quoted in Northwestern University, September/October 2017.
Researchers found that after two years, children who not only regularly attended music classes, but also actively participated in the class, showed larger improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers. -Nina Kraus, director of Northwestern’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, quoted in Melissa Locker, "This Is How Music Can Change Your Brain"; Time, December 16, 2014.
Research shows that making music changes the brain and that these brain changes have tangible impacts on listening skills, learning and cognition. -"Music, hearing, and education: from the lab to the classroom"; quoted in Northwestern University, September/October 2017.
Playing an instrument helps youngsters better process speech in noisy classrooms and more accurately interpret the nuances of language that are conveyed by subtle changes in the human voice. -"Why Music Education Matters"; quoted in the Phoenix Symphony, February 6, 2017
Schools with music programs have an estimated 90.2% graduation rate and 93.9% attendance rate compared to schools without music education, which average 72.9% graduation and 84.9% attendance. -"Music Makes the Grade"; The National Association for Music Education. Accessed February 24, 2015
Adolescent-centered studies show that even very basic rhythm abilities, such as tapping to a beat, relate with reading skills, and we have provided initial evidence for how both abilities may rely on common underlying neural mechanisms of sound processing. -Tierney, A.T. and N. Kraus, "The ability to tap to a beat relates to cognitive, linguistic, and perceptual skills."; Brain and Language, 2013. 124(3): p. 225-231
Students who take music in middle school score significantly higher on algebra assignments in 9th grade than their non-music counterparts. -Helmrich. B. H. (2010), "Window of opportunity? Adolescence, music, and algebra."; Journal of Adolescent Research. 25 (4).
Students in high-quality school music education programs score higher on standardized tests compared to students in schools with deficient music education programs, regardless of the socioeconomic level of community. -Nature Neuroscience, April 2007.