Music in the Early Grades
"...It is worth pointing out that music is not only deeply linked to the auditory system but that it also engages almost every other neural system and cognitive function: motor, multisensory, memory, attention, and emotion are all part and parcel of music. Music thus essentially engages the totality of the nervous system, posing a challenge to understanding but also providing an opportunity to deepen our knowledge of the entire system...."The fact that musicians do need working memory offers a glimpse at how music training can benefit learning. In May of this year, Simon Makin of Scientific American described Kraus' research in an article, "Music Lessons Combat Poverty's Effect on the Brain. Music lessons may help close the socioeconomic gap in reading ability":
Kraus's team tested the auditory abilities of teenagers aged 14 or 15, grouped by socioeconomic status (as indexed by their mother's level of education, a commonly used surrogate measure). The researchers recorded the kids' brain waves with EEG as they listened to a repeated syllable against soft background sound and when they heard nothing. They found that children of mothers with a lower education had noisier, weaker and more variable neural activity in response to sound and greater activity in the absence of sound. The children also scored lower on tests of reading and working memory.
|Above copied from Slater J, Tierney A, Kraus N (2013) At-Risk Elementary School Children with One Year of Classroom Music Instruction Are Better at Keeping a Beat. PLoS ONE 8(10): e77250. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077250|
"After just one year of music lessons, the reading scores of 9- and 10-year-old students from low-income neighborhoods held steady, while the scores of their peers, who didn't study an instrument, dipped.
That's the finding of a new study from Northwestern University. The teamed with an organization called The Harmony Project to see how learning music impacts a student's academic performance."