Whitney's Music Studio

in Shallowater, Texas and Lubbock, Texas area

(806) 832-0531




Piano Lessons Make Kids Smarter!

Kjos Piano News

Volume 5, 1997

Piano 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 interest.

The 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.

The 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 development.

The experiment included four groups of preschoolers: one group received private piano/keyboard lessons; a second group received singing lessons; a third group received private computer lessons; and a fourth group received no training.

Those children who received piano/keyboard training performed 34% higher on tests measuring spatial - temporal ability than others.

These 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.

Dr. 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.

Their studies indicate that music training generates the neural connections used for abstract reasoning, including those necessary for understanding mathematical concepts.

What 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 Shaw 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