Piano Lessons Make Kids Smarter!
Kjos Piano News
teachers have known this all along, but it is now confirmed
by the research findings of Dr. Frances Rauscher of the
University of Wisconsin at OshKosh, and Dr. Gordon Shaw of
University of California, Irvine.
The work of Drs. Shaw and
Rauscher concentrates on the importance of music in the early
developmental stages of childhood and has been widely
recognized as groundbreaking, attracting intensive media
research team in Irvine, California, explored the link
between music and intelligence and reported that music training
- specifically piano instruction - is far superior to computer
instruction in dramatically enhancing children's abstract
reasoning skills necessary for learning math and science.
new findings published in the February 1997 issue of
Neurological Research, are the result of a two-year experiment
with preschoolers, led by psychologist Dr. Frances Rauscher and
physicist Dr. Gordon Shaw. As a
follow-up to their earlier
groundbreaking studies which correlated how music can enhance
spatial-reasoning ability, the researchers set out to compare
the effects of musical and non-musical training on intellectual
experiment included four groups of preschoolers:
one group received private piano/keyboard lessons; a
second group received singing lessons; a third group received
computer lessons; and a fourth group received no training.
children who received piano/keyboard training performed 34%
higher on tests measuring spatial - temporal ability than
findings indicate that music uniquely enhances higher brain
functions required for mathematics, chess, science and
engineering. The implications of
this and future studies can change the way educators view the
core school curriculum,
particularly since music-making nurtures the intellect and
produces long-term improvements.
"It has been clearly documented that young students
have difficulty understanding the concepts of proportion
(heavily used in math and science) and that no successful
program has been developed to teach these concepts in the
school system," stated Dr. Rauscher.
"The high proportion of children who evidenced a
dramatic improvement in spatial-temporal reasoning as a
result of music traning should be of great interest to
scientists and educators," added Dr. Shaw.
Rauscher and Dr. Shaw's research is based on some remarkable
studies that have recently begun pouring out of neuroscience
laboratories throughout the country.
These studies show that early experiences determine
which brain cells (neurons) will connect with other brain
cells, and which ones will die away.
Because neural connections are responsible for all
types of intelligence, a child's brain develops to its full
potential only with exposure to the necessary enriching
experiences in early childhood.
studies indicate that music training generates the neural
connections used for abstract reasoning, including those
necessary for understanding mathematical concepts.
Drs. Rauscher and Shaw have confirmed has been the causal
relationship between early music training and the development
of the neural circuitry that governs spatial intelligence.
Specifically, earlier studies led by Drs. Rauscher and
reported a causal relationship between music training and
spatial-temporal ability enhancement in preschoolers (1994),
and among college students who simply listened to a Mozart
sonata (1993, 1995).
Dr. Frances Rauscher reported their findings to the White House Conference on "Early Childhood Development and the Brain" on April 17, and then later testified before Congress on April 23 on their research results. At a time when more and more pressure is being exerted on both school and family budgets and time, this research is a welcome reminder to decision-makers of the vital role music plays in a child's development.
"Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song." Psalms 95:2
"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music." Psalms 98:4