How Music Education Enhances Intellectual and Academic Process ?
Updated: Dec 14, 2020
William Earhart, former president of the Music Educators National Conference, claimed that "Music enhances knowledge in the areas of mathematics, science, geography, history, foreign language, physical education, and vocational training."
A number of researchers and music education advocates have argued that studying music enhances academic achievement. Some schools and organizations promote integration of arts classes, such as music, with other subjects, such as math, science, or English, believing that integrating the different curricula will help each subject to build off of one another, enhancing the overall quality of education.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin suggested that students with piano or keyboard experience performed 34% higher on tests that measure spatial-temporal lobe activity, which is the part of the brain that is used when doing mathematics, science, and engineering.
In the United States an estimated 30% of students struggle with reading, while 17% are reported as having a specific learning disability linked to reading. Using intensive music curriculum as an intervention paired alongside regular classroom activities, research shows that students involved with the music curriculum show increases in reading comprehension, word knowledge, vocabulary recall, and word decoding. When a student is singing a melody with text, they are using multiple areas of their brain to multitask. Music effects language development, increases IQ, spatial-temporal skills, and improves test scores.
Smith (1985) studied background music with word lists. One experiment involved memorizing a word list with background music; participants recalled the words 48 hours later. Another experiment involved memorizing a word list with no background music; participants also recalled the words 48 hours later. Participants who memorized word lists with background music recalled more words demonstrating music provides contextual cues.
Citing studies that support music education's involvement in intellectual development and academic achievement, the United States Congress passed a resolution declaring that: "Music education enhances intellectual development and enriches the academic environment for children of all ages; and Music educators greatly contribute to the artistic, intellectual and social development of American children and play a key role in helping children to succeed in school."
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