A recently published study in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Educational Psychology reveals that music students typically have more academic success than their classmates who don’t play an instrument.
This study analyzed 113,000 students and found that kids who began playing an instrument in the fifth grade achieved higher scores on their high school math, science, and English exams.
Glenn Schellenberg, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, says that music doesn’t improve a student’s cognitive abilities. Rather, it’s the smart kids who are more likely to learn music.
But Dr. Gouzouasis disagrees. He says the study was, “Controlled for variables such as students’ gender, ethnicity, earlier academic achievement and their neighborhood socioeconomic status,” which increases the validity of its results.
According to Dr. Gouzouasis, learning how to play an instrument improves the skills that are necessary for academic success. These skills include memorization, synchronization, focus, and organization, as well as self-discipline.
The benefits of playing music are so significant that Dr. Gouzouasis says, “Schools, school districts, provinces need to seriously look at this work and consider reinstating music programs where they’ve been cut.”
Margaret Lai, a piano teacher, and mother of two, also believes that music contributes to success in the classroom. Her own children are involved in the Coquitlam Youth Orchestra, and they are both doing exceedingly well in school.
Based on the results of the study, Dr. Gouzouasis might be right. Schools really should consider implementing more music programs.