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Can Music Instruction Affect Children's Cognitive Development? (page 3)

By — Educational Resource Information Center (U.S. Department of Education)
Updated on Jan 26, 2011

Conclusion

The research suggests that music may act as a catalyst for cognitive abilities in other disciplines, and the relationship between music and spatial-temporal reasoning is particularly compelling. However, several concerns remain unaddressed. Little is known regarding the exact aspects of music instruction that contribute to the transfer effects. Also, further longitudinal studies are needed to determine the duration of these effects. Another concern is that currently available tests of reading and math achievement may not be sufficiently sensitive to the complexity of language and mathematical learning potentially affected by music instruction. Although it appears that parents, educators, and policy makers can now consider enhanced spatial-temporal ability to be a viable outcome of music instruction, the evidence supporting enhanced mathematical or reading ability is equivocal. Finally, although the research has strong implications for policy and practice, care must be taken to ensure that scientific goals do not displace developmentally appropriate music instruction (see, e.g., Music Educators National Conference [1994]).

For More Information

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Rauscher, F. H. (2002). Mozart and the mind: Factual and fictional effects of musical enrichment. In J. Aronson (Ed.), Improving academic achievement: Impact of psychological factors on education (pp. 269-278). New York: Academic Press.

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Rauscher, F. H., Shaw, G. L., & Ky, K. N. (1993). Music and spatial task performance. Nature, 365, 611.†

Rauscher, F. H., Shaw, G. L., Levine, L. J., Wright, E. L., Dennis, W. R., & Newcomb, R. L. (1997). Music training causes long-term enhancement of preschool children's spatial-temporal reasoning. Neurological Research, 19(1), 1-8.†

Rauscher, F. H., & Zupan, M. (2000). Classroom keyboard instruction improves kindergarten children's spatial-temporal performance: A field experiment. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 15(2), 215-228. EJ 633 368.†

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