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Early Education

ThePowerOfSound.com/Early Education

The following information is in reference to Chapter 9, page 107 of The Power Of Sound.

New Notes on the Uses of Music.” Researchers at Harvard University have apparently seen a correlation between early-childhood music training and “enhanced motor and auditory skills, as well as improvements in verbal ability and non-verbal reasoning,” And that correlation, they say, is even more pronounced in children with dyslexia. Gottfried Schlaug, one of the researchers, says the 2009 results “suggest that a music intervention that strengthens the basic auditory music perception skills of children with dyslexia may also remediate some of their language deficits.”

Supporting the findings of Dr. Schlaug, McMaster University (West Hamilton, Ontario) researchers conducted several studies of children to gauge the impact of musical training.42 In one study, they compared two groups of children: one who were starting music lessons, and one who were doing other activities, like sports. They tested the electrical activity in the children’s brains for a year and found that while both groups changed as the children developed, the children taking music lessons changed more in the areas related to attentional processing.43

“Music Has Long-Term Effect on Abstract Reasoning Skills.” An inner-city daycare center was the locale where thirty-three three-year-olds were tested in around 1995. Nineteen children were provided with weekly piano lessons and daily group singing sessions. Fourteen children did not receive any musical training at all. After eight months, the musical group showed great improvement in working with puzzles—a standard test for mathematical reasoning skills. In a larger follow-up study, researchers found that children who participated in voice and piano studies increased their spatial-temporal IQs by a 46 percent mean. Those children who received no musical training improved by 6 percent. Spatial IQ is important to higher brain functions such as mathematics.38

“Early Music Training Alters Brain Anatomy.” A research team from Germany discovered in 1996 that the corpus callosum—the central bundle of nerve fibers connecting the two hemispheres of the brain—was significantly larger in musicians who had studied at an early age than in non-musicians. Nerves that control motor function on both sides of the body pass through the corpus callosum. The researchers believe that musical training in early life lays down either additional “wiring” or better-insulated wiring, resulting in better communication between the two hemispheres.37

“Music and Math.” Using first-graders, a Rhode Island control group was given the district’s standard music and art training. The experimental group was given more intensive instruction in music and art. At the beginning of the test, the experimental group rated below the control group. After seven months, the experimental group had pulled even with the control group in reading, and considerably bypassed it in mathematics.39

“Music Training Boosts Memory.” In Hong Kong, psychologists found that word memory increased by 16 percent in adults who had learned a musical instrument as a child. The 1998 study involved thirty college students with a minimum of six years of musical training prior to age twelve and thirty students with no prior musical instruction. The musically trained were found to be better at recalling words read to them from a list. Interestingly enough, they were no better at recalling and drawing simple designs from memory. The researchers note that the left planum temporale region of the brain, behind the left ear, is larger in musicians. This is the part of the brain that also handles verbal memory.40

“Improved Maze Learning through Early Music Exposure in Rats.” Rats were exposed in-utero and sixty days after birth to either complex music (Mozart’s Sonata K. 448), minimalist music (Philip Glass), white noise, or silence. By day three, the rats exposed to the Mozart completed the maze more rapidly and with fewer errors than did the rats assigned to the other groups. The difference increased in magnitude through day five. This 1995 study suggests that repeated exposure to complex music induces improved spatial-temporal learning in rats; similar results have been found in humans. These tests suggest a similar neurophysical mechanism for the effects of music on rats and humans.41

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