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Musical training is noted to have recently gained a significant interest in education, owing to the fact that increasing neuroscientific research highlights its positive impacts on brain development. Clearly, neuroimaging reveals plastic changes in the brains of pre-adolescents. However, it is still uncertain to what extent, they pose as the products of intense music training rather than other factors like biological musicality markers. This study brings forth various underpinnings, which demonstrate the benefits of music training, which extend beyond skills, to last well into adulthood. For instance, it notes that pre-adolescents who engage in music training have better memory, better language pronunciation accuracy, as well as other executive functions. Notably, music education also predicts a child’s academic performance and their IQ. This is observed, based on their structural, as well as functional brain adaptation, which correlated with the intensity of the duration of practice. Moreover, it is worth noting that the impact of cognitive development relies on the timing of various musical initiation, owing to sensitive periods of development and other modulating variables.
Music has a big role in our culture today and past decades and centuries. Around the world music is everywhere, it is on the TV, our phones, theatres and other places. A number of events and ceremonies including sports, birthdays and religious activities involve the use of songs. Because of the importance of music in the society, music education has been used in schools to teach children essential music and social skills. Early research indicates the exposure to music from early childhood enhances the ability of children to develop larger vocabulary, speak more clearly and strengthen social and emotional skills (Swanwick, 2002). In 1983, Howard Gardner an American psychologist developed the theory of multiple intelligences which challenged the traditional notion of premised on the Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Gardner believed that because students have different kinds of minds they will remember, perform and understand in different ways (Kornhaber, 2006)). Musical intelligence is one of the distinct intelligence that implies that individuals with this kind of intelligence tends to use rhythms and patterns to aid in learning. Music education has a positive impact on the brains of pre-adolescents as they learn by playing instruments that in turn enhance the capabilities of their brains.
Against the above background there have been studies examining the correlation between music education and intelligent skills with specific focus on the effects it has on the brain. In this regard, psychologists have argued that because the brain is a muscle, learning to play and instrument and read music is the crucial exercise (Rideout, 2002). Therefore neuroscientists have undertaken studies to find out the impact of music on the brains of young children. To achieve this, the studies involve the use of electroencephalogram, behavioural testing, structural and functional MRI scans to track electrical activities in the brains. In a five year study carried out in in Los Angeles, the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC partnered with Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and the Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) to investigate the effect of music education on children’s cognitive, emotional and social development (Gersema, 2017). The study found that music instruction appeared to increase brain development in young children especially in terms of reading skills, language development, processing sound and speech perception. The study joins a large pool of others that have suggested that music training or instruction actually the rate of maturity of auditory pathways in the brain hence positively impacting its efficiency.
The purpose of this study is to find out the positive effects of learning to play an instrument between the ages of 7-10 in the United Kingdom (UK). As a result, this study will examine the relationship between musical education or instruction and intelligence skills in preadolescents. Studies show that music is an important aspect not only socially but also in teaching of students. It thus proper to find out how the use of music in education can positively impact on the intelligence skills of pre-adolescents especially those key stage 2 level of education.
This study has been categorised into specific objectives as highlighted below:
To find out how learning to play an instrument in Ks2 enhances creativity
To find out how learning to play an instrument in Ks2 impacts decision making
To find out the beneficial aspects of playing instruments in Ks2
To investigate whether playing of instruments in Ks2 aids in learning other subjects
This research seeks to answer the following questions:
How does learning to play an instrument while in Ks2 enhance creativity?
How does learning to play instrument while in Ks2 impact decision making?
How is learning to play an instrument beneficial
How does learning to play an instrument aid in the learning of other subjects
Rational of the Study
Generally, it is accepted that music has a positive impact on the social and emotional development of people. The importance of music cannot be underestimated and research has shown that music can calm the nerves of an adult and babies prefer music that they listened while they were in the womb. However, little is known of the positive impacts of learning to play instruments in pre-adolescents’ brain. There is need to find out the effect that music education has these category of children in terms of their intelligence skills. In particular, there is little evidence on whether music education enhances creativity, decision making and helps in learning other subjects. Therefore, it is crucial that further research be conducted in this area with special focus on pre-adolescents to provide insight into the above state positive impacts. Nevertheless, scientific studies have shown that learning and listening music has significant effects on the brain development of children and adolescents. Further, previous research demonstrates that early music training is responsible for actual physical changes in the brain structure and function. In particular, research show that music affects the brain through increasing the white matter in the corpus callosum that causes increased brain connectivity.
The National Institute of Health Kennedy Centre Workshop on Music and the Brain conducted a study in 2018 whose findings indicate that listening music by children impacted positively on their brain by significantly contributing to their language development and other cognitive functions such as visual-spatial perception, attention, and executive function. Studies like these are thought-provoking because they imply that music education could have more positive effects on the brain of pre-adolescents than is already known by scientists and doctors. It is thus important to not only examine element of learning to play music but also listening to music which has been proven to engage and stimulate the brain so much as to facilitate learning in pre-adolescents. However, this research is largely focused on the learning to play instruments and its effect on the brain of pre-adolescents, an area which suffers from a dearth of evidence-based research to confirm the above research questions. Music and art has been associated with creativity, intellectual curiosity and freedom of expression, however, there is need to establish if these values can be realised from pre-adolescents’ brain interaction with music.
A study conducted by Yang et al. (2014), examined the correlation between long-term music training and child development on 250 Chinese elementary students. The study found that children that had musical training performed better than those that had no training in musical achievement and second language development. The research showed that students who received musical training and visual arts over a period of seven months performed better than their control counterparts on mathematics thus suggesting that there is a relationship between music and mathematical skills. However, the same study indicated that musical training at an early age was not a predictor of mathematical development. It also showed that academic development can be attributed to other variables including parents’ role in music education of the child. Following the above, it is unclear whether musical training independently contributes to academic development in children or there other variables that influence the results. As a result, the study evidences mixed results that warrants for further investigation of the relationship. The researchers acknowledge that a vast majority of evidence of developmental benefits of music learning is found in western countries hence it may be difficult to evaluate evidence from the Asian context. Notably, the above study does not delve into the actual effect of musical learning on the brains of the participants but only focuses on academic development as a dependent variable in the research.
According Habibi et al. (2018) learning to play music is responsible for improvement of musical skills and other cognitive abilities which contribute to child development. Against the background that the brains of musicians and non-musicians are different in both adults and children, the authors sought to find out the impacts of music training on children’s brain and cognitive development. The longitudinal study found that after two years of music training, children in the music group outperformed other comparison groups in musically relevant auditory skills and related brain changes. Although the study recognised that there is little evidence to explain the difference in brains of musicians and non-musicians, it concluded that music training causes behavioural and brain changes in children but the changes are not associated with pre-existing biological traits. Interestingly, early research has shown that musical training has no correlation with cognitive development in children and has instead attributed any musical advantage to existing biological traits (Mehr, 2013; 2015). Early evidence suggests claims that music training enhances general intelligence in children as a general merit of music (Schellenberg, 2006). In contrast, subsequent examinations of the intelligence of musicians found inconclusive results after using intelligence tests (Mehr, Schachner, Katz and Spelke, 2013). It is therefore inconclusive as to whether music training has effects on cognition despite the existence of research evidence on musicians outperforming non-musicians across psychological measures.
Be that as it may, there is a growing body of literature that has demonstrated that music lessons have an impact on the cognition of children. Diamond and Lee (2011) and Diamond (2013) have suggested that music training has a significant effect on cognition including abilities of task-switching, working memory, planning, inhibition and interference control. Basically, the study provides evidence for the positive effects of music education on children’s brain, a confirmation that is in line with the research hypothesis. D’Souza and Wiseheart (2018) believe that mental ability presumed to be arising from music training could be attributed to other training activities or an individual’s background traits. In their three weeks music training study, the researchers investigated children aged 6 to 9 years old who were trained in either dance or music and were subjected to mental evaluation before and after the training. They found that although there were slight improvements in mental performance at first, no training effects were recorded on the tested cognitive abilities. Therefore, they concluded that that short-term training had no effect whatsoever on the cognitive skills of children, a conclusion that is contrary to a number of research on the cognitive effects of music training on children
A 2 year study involving preschool children used Phoneme processing, Inhibitory control, Perceptual reasoning skills and Vocabulary tests to determine that music plays a significant role in improving children’s linguistic skills (Linnavalli et al., 2018). The study suggests that music training and playgroups contributes to the development of linguistic skills in children and therefore advocate for the use of music lessons in early childhood education. It follows that the results obtained in this research involving preschool children can be replicated in children in key stage 2 level of education and it would possibly enhance their linguistic abilities. In the same vein, (Hille and Schupp (2013) suggest that long-term music training of children and youths enhances their school grades, cognitive skills, time use, personality and ambition. Using a representative data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), the researchers contend that music training develops cognitive abilities of adolescents twice as much as other activities including theatre, sports or dance. Therefore, the two studies support the claim that music training has a positive impact on the brain of children by enhancing the development of both cognitive and non-cognitive skills.
Interestingly, Schellenberg (2011) conducted a study on musically trained and untrained 9 to 12 year olds and found that the group that was musically trained had higher IQs. However, the researcher explains the above scenario as being attributed to the fact that children with high IQ are likely to join music lessons that those with a lower IQ. The study appears to suggest that the only reason as to why music training may be considered to enhance intelligence is only because it is children that are intelligent that have chosen music lessons. Similarly, Sala and Gobet (2016) question previous findings on the association of music training and cognitive and academic skills in children. They look at the issue in the perspective of transfer of skills musical skills to within the concept of far-transfer and claim that it is a rare occurrence. In addition to this, the research suggests that music training does not reliably improve the cognitive and academic skills of children and young adolescents. Just like Schellenberg, the authors disagree with previous evidence on this areas claiming that they relied on mixed up and confusing evidence.
There is a growing body of research that suggests that music provides a way for the brain to integrate various functions through the unified act of music making. Music essentially activates multiple brain systems thus resulting in a temporal flow of music that enhances the personal and social power of a person. The manner in which the brain responds to music has been studied for a long time a number of such studies indicate that music making involves a range of highly developed and well-integrated sensory, motor skills, perceptual and other functions. In essence, the brain is motivated to participate in the complex state by a reward system that activates in response to both the anticipation and experience of pleasure. Neuroscience and literature studies relating to music have identified numerous connections of music at multiple levels including: building social cohesion, integration of human thinking and emotions and regulation of wellbeing, transfer of cognitive skills and the structure and function of the brain. The above connections of music have been shown to amount to academic advantages such as spatial abilities, executive functioning, numeracy, improved literacy, intelligence, and more importantly, a greater school attendance and participation.
In relation to the above, research shows that age is one of the core principles of experience-dependent neuroplasticity, which is the adaptive capacity of the central nervous system (Merret and Wilson, 2011). Therefore, the acts of listening, playing and creating music positively impacts on the cognitive functions of young people more than adults. In a study involving preschool children, the findings showed that exposing the children to music caused some differences in their auditory functioning that were already evident before the training (Hallam, 2010). Further research on neuroplasticity shows that previous music exposure in children and young people primes the brain for future learning hence it supports the idea that music education affects learning in others fields. Therefore, it sits well with the hypothesis that music education in pre-adolescents helps in the learning of other subjects in what is referred to as far-transfer by Sala and Gobet (2016). There is a common thread in all the above studies and it relates to the idea that music has the power to integrate the mind and the body and to soothe the brain though the unified act of music education. It follows that music education harnesses the various benefits of music by preparing the brain for to adapt to the changing environment.
Wayne Bowman (2010) has an interesting perspective regarding the place of music education on young people. The educator and philosopher warns that although most scholars advocate for music education in schools, it has the potential to harm or mis-educate young people. He argues that music can potentially trivialise the imagination rather than enhance it or kill creativity rather than stimulate it. Therefore, the author maintains that to generalise that music has a positive impact on the brains of young people is wrong because it can have both negative and positive influences depending on various factors. For Bowman musical education’s efficacy depends on the manner of delivery, the persons involve as teachers or instructors, the circumstances and the intended audience. He is concerned that there is need to specify the reasons for exploration of intrinsic and extrinsic values of music in the educational setting. Silverstone (2018) acknowledges that schools strive through different programs to prepare children and young people for job opportunities and leadership positions in the society. Some of the institutions have integrated music training into their curriculum to not only benefit the children in learning but also prepare them for future endeavours.
The author joins a growing body of research that suggest that music education enhances the reading comprehensive skills and children exhibit an expanded vocabulary (Silverstone, 2018). In essence, music ability and language comprehension are interlinked because musical training requires students to recognise and repeat tone, pitch and enunciation of words. A study testing auditory, visual and memory tests pitched musicians against non-musicians and at the end the musicians outperformed their counterparts (George and Coch, 2011). This study shows that music has an effect on the memory of a person hence pre-adolescents are likely to benefit from musical training by being able to use common tunes to memorise facts and even use music resources when presenting materials. Further, Musical training encourages teamwork among pre-adolescents since certain performances requires the contribution and coordination of all the members of a given group. This forms a perfect foundation for children who get to enjoy the benefit of being in a group or community where they depend on each other. It also gives them a sense of belonging that may later on be helpful in dealing with emotional issues by confiding in the in team members. It is thus one way of providing children with a well-rounded education that allows them to grow in self-esteem, learn other subjects in conjunction with music and prepare them for their future careers.
According to Hallam (2010) musical experiences has an effect on the perception of language, which is related to learning to read. He found out that when eight-year old children were subjected to music training for eight weeks they exhibited improvements in perceptual cognition than controls. The study further shows that when children learn to play instruments, their left cranial temporal regions are enlarged hence their ability to remember words become enhanced. It follows that children who experience difficulties with their comprehension skills benefit from musical training in rhythmic performance. It appears that the above study reaches similar conclusion as the one discussed before by George and Coch (2011) regarding the connection between musical training and auditory, visual and memory capabilities of children. Music participation enhances personal and social development in pre-adolescents through activities like playing of instruments that increase their self-confidence, self-discipline and avails them with a mode of self-expression. The study also found that musical training in small groups enhanced the development of self-identity and was considered to be a source of support when young people are troubled or are emotionally unstable.
On the authority of Wong et al. (2007) the playing of musical instruments triggers changes in the brainstem which causes quicker responses in musicians than non-musicians. Studies show that people who have had music training since the age of five have quicker response and increased neuron activity in the brain to both speech sounds and music. It also shows that musicians tend to have a high functioning peripheral auditory systems. Because of musical training, first graders have been found to have phonemic and musical pitch awareness. Hallam conducted a study involving kindergarten children who had musical training for 30 minutes once pare week and it was evident that the children who received musical training had greater gains in phonemic awareness than the control group. In another study eight year olds were compared with no musical training were compared with those with musical training and the latter outperformed the former in language tests (Patel, 2009). It follows that a number of studies have shown that musical training has positive effects on the linguistic abilities of children. Therefore, it shows that musical training can actually help pre-adolescents learn other subjects apart from music itself.
There is further increasing research evidence to support the claim that when children are exposed to musical training, their auditory, visual and motor skills develop hence enhancing their reading and comprehension skills (Sheppard, 2012). It has also been shown that piano lessons for pre-adolescents can improve their ability to learn verbal sequencing and increase their vocabulary. However, the extent of improvement in different areas is also dependent on the age of the children, their previous exposure to music and pre-existing knowledge in the areas tested. Further evidence demonstrates that when children who are categorised as slow learners are subjected to musical training for longer periods, they show significantly higher reading scores than those not enrolled for music training. It thus appears that rhythmic performance is a big deal in reading development in children and musical training in the area of rhythm performance and tonal memory has considerable impact on the ability to read comprehension. However, the relationship between music and mathematics is complex one that has mixed results from different scholars. For instance, studies have shown that when pre-adolescents are exposed to musical trainings like piano and singing sessions, they score higher marks in mathematics achievement test than the control group. Interestingly, research evidence also show that the improved performances in mathematics can also be attributed to home musical background of the child. This means that there is an additional factor that is involved in the correlation between music training and performance of children in mathematics, a factor which cannot be elaborately be explained.
Hallam, Rickard and McFerran (2011) suggest that children who have been musically engaged for longer periods of time tend to score higher marks in mathematics compared to those that have had a shorter training. This observation sits well with the findings of another researcher who found that short musical training had little or no positive impact on the brain of children. Interestingly, the study also found that children who were learning to play keyboard instruments had higher scores than those that learned other instruments. The implication is that keyboard instruments tend to stimulate the brain of pre-adolescents more than other instruments hence the higher scores for those learning keyboard instruments over a long period of time. Generally, research has shown that musical training for longer periods have positive influences on the mathematical performances of children who are trained than those who are not trained (Jaques-Dalcroze, 2014). However, it is not clear as to the duration that a child should be trained in order to improve his or her performances in numeracy. Therefore, there is need for further investigation into the area to determine the length of time required, the kinds of musical training needed and the particular types of mathematical problems which are impacted on by musical training in pre-adolescents.
Gojmerac (2018) has examined the scientific evidence in support if the claim that music has a big influence on children on their psychosocial and cognitive development. She thus analyses various studies undertaken by education scholars and neurophysiologists who support the use of music in the education system to improve the cognitive abilities of children. As a result the author traces the historical use of music in education to ancient Greek education system. In particular, she points out the fact that Plato in his work, The Republic emphasises the power and importance of music in relation to the character of a person. The author looks at the place of music in in school including its relevance to science, math and languages. In this regard, this study presents a series of research evidence that support the proposition that has value for child development (Gojmerac, 2018). The study was carried out in an elementary school in Bosnia and Herzegovonia and the results indicated that at least 95 per cent of the students from all the music departments in the school exhibited excellent scores in in math, science and linguistics generally and that music had a positive impact on their development.
In light of the foregoing there has been a continuing debate by among music educators and general educators regarding the question as to whether more time should be allocated to music in classrooms. Munroe (2015) makes a case for the integration of music with other disciplines in a way that treats each discipline with integrity across the curriculum in schools. The study relies of the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards report which advocates for the integration of artistic ideas and works with cultural, societal and historical context. In this regard, the study argues that integration of music and other arts in the school curriculum will enable students to make connections and transfer music experiences to other situations. In particular, music teachers should collaborate with other teachers to integrate and collaborate in the teaching of other subjects and music. Overall, vast evidence support the idea that music education is good for brain of pre-adolescents by aiding the development of intelligence in different areas including, literacy, numeracy and psychological development. Although other scholars have questioned the prioritisation of music in schools, the benefits of music education for pre-adolescents outweigh the negative impacts.
Notably, a research methodology provides a significant aspect in a research study and in turn, that contributes towards its progress. Of importance, this includes a description of various tools, as well as various research techniques that are utilized in the research study (Neuman, 2013). In this regard, this chapter aims at providing the activities, which were used in collecting data for this study and as such, it will include the activities conducted, as well as where they were collected. Thus, it is notable that this chapter is significantly useful in terms of regulating the entire research progress, thereby, ensuring that schedules delivery is done in a timely way, including task performance and activities. Overall, it should be noted that this chapter provides significant explanations, based on the research approaches that were used, the techniques of sampling that was adopted, the population of the study, and the data collection procedures.
This study adopted a qualitative research approach, as it was regarded to be important in evaluating the relationship that existed between music education and the development of intelligent skills in pre-adolescents. Clearly, these are qualitative variables (Silverman, 2016). Of importance to note is that this study chose qualitative research as it provides in-depth information on behaviours, as well as the feelings of people. Additionally, it establishes openness that encourages participants to expand on various responses that they give and this eventually opens up newer subjects, which initially, could not have been considered. Needless to forget, this study also adopted the interpretivism, philosophy and also induction. Scholars like Corley and Goia (2011) denote that the philosophical approach is vital for research studies that entail primary data collection. On the other hand, this study adopted the interpretivism approach, owing to the fact that it allows the research to appreciate people’s varied differences. Additionally, it is worth noting that interpretivism studies significantly base their focus on the meaning, and aim at employing various methods, which assist in reflecting on the varied aspects of a given issue. Finally, the induction approach was used in order to aid in generating various statements based on the researcher’s observations, thus enhancing the development of a theory, based on the data collected. Evidently, using philosophical approach as well assisted in the analysis of various concepts, problems, and even arguments (Silverman, 2016).
Based on the fact that this research is qualitative, it thus investigates the relationship that exists between music education on a pre-adolescent’s brain in the development of intelligent skills. In this respect, this study purposed to adopt the use of interviews, as well as semi-structured questionnaire in data collection. Notably, the interviewed were opted for as they assisted in data production whilst considering the ideas, and opinions of the participants (King et al., 2018). As such, the participants had the chance to expand on their ideas, whilst explain their perceptions regarding factors, which that deemed as crucial. Additionally, interviews are noted to be valid as they sensitize on direct contact, thus, implying that the data that is collected can be scrutinized whenever there is need of enhancing accuracy and even relevance. Moreover, semi-structured questionnaires were used in this study, as they provide detailed information that is reliable and can easily be analysed (Flick, 2018).
Whereas much information used in this study was gotten from secondary sources, it should be taken into account that first-hand information was collected from pre-adolescents and their music teachers in the UK. In this regard, they were interviewed whilst putting into consideration the testing of IQ amongst pre; -adolescents in an attempt to determine and examine their intelligent skills (Taylor et al., 2015). As such, through this method, it is evident that significant data on the subject matter was obtained, thus making it more efficient and effective in the collection of data. Moreover, various secondary sources, which were utilized included scholarly books, articles, and even journals relating to music education and its impact on a pre-adolescent’s brain in the development of intelligent skills. Worth noting, the secondary sources assisted in the generation of important insights that had been deduced from previous studies. Again, it is worth noting that re-analyzing of data aided in the generating unexpected discoveries (Merriam and Tisdell, 2015). For a fact that the databased used in generating the scholarly articles could easily be accessible, they can as well be analyzed, to provide relevant conclusion, confirmation of previous results and simple verification.
Importantly, this study purposes to expound on the effects of music on a pre-adolescent’s brain in the development of intelligent skills. In this regard, the study will significantly focus on the manner in which music results into the development of intelligent skills, especially on the brains of pre-adolescents. Therefore, the population used in this study was pre-adolescents and their music teachers. The population was chosen randomly, based on their willingness to engage in the study. Clearly, random selection was adopted, to prevent biasness in a few of the schools in the UK. This study aimed at getting a general view of how pre-adolescents used music education in enhancing their intelligent skills, and as such, there was no need selecting the participants whilst putting into consideration, any form of restriction.
The researcher first seeked permission to conduct the study in a few nearby schools in the UK, and this was to be done amongst pre-adolescents, especially those engaging in music education. Apart from the pre-adolescents, their music teachers were as well be involved in the research, owing to the fact that they were required to aid in facilitating the study. Owing to the fact that this research aims at determining the effects that music education impacts on the brains of the pre-adolescents, this study will involve testing of the participants’ (students) IQ whilst comparing them to pre-adolescents who do not engage in music education. The pre-adolescents were given a test, in a bid to test their IQ. Moreover, there was a face-to-face interviews conducted on the pre-adolescents, whilst for their music teachers, they were provide with semi-structured interviews, in order to gauge the intelligent abilities of their students. The researcher purposed to assess the brain functionality of the pre-adolescents by asking them questions. Moreover, brain scans were conducted, in order to demonstrate the brain development of these participants. Thereafter, a general comparison will be conducted between pre-adolescents engaging in music education and those who do not, in order to bring forth a clear perception of the impact of music education on the pre-adolescent’s brain in the development of intelligent skills.
Owing to the fact that the primary aim of this research study was to create a connection between music education and the development of intelligent skills in the brain of pre-adolescents. This implies that the study focused on human beings, as the major subjects in the research. In this regard, they were subjected to questioning and interrogation, thereby, posing an issue the need for an ethical obligation. According to Blackie (2010), he significantly notes that using human beings in a study as test objects brings forth ethical concerns, which ought to be addressed before the commencement of the study. As such, permissions were obtained from the schools that were selected for the study to take place. This was to enable the participants to be at ease while providing important information. Moreover, the participants selected for this study were informed earlier of the requirements of the study and this was in line with the use of random sampling technique that ensured that they engaged in the study at their free will. Finally, and most importantly, the personal information of the participants were kept anonymous, thus enhancing the idea of privacy, in order for the participants to participate freely.
This chapter will first provide the results of the findings, based on the tests provided to the student participants. Thereafter, it will provide the results of the findings, based on the interviews with the participants, the results based on the findings derived from the music teachers. Finally, this chapter will provide a detailed discussion, which purposes to explain the provision of the findings. These are as provided as follows:
Both pre-adolescents that engage in music education and those who do not engage in it, had their IQs tested, in order to determine, the level in which music education results into the development of intelligent skills. In this regard, the findings were that 98 per cent of the participants who engage in music education recorded higher IQ as compared to those who do not engage in music education, owing to the fact that just 5 per cent of them recorded a higher IQ as compared to their peers. This implies that music education is important for pre-adolescents to portray a higher IQ.
The pre-adolescents who engage in music education were asked how frequent they study music education. In this regard, 20 per cent of them recorded that they study music education 7 times a week, whilst others (80 per cent) noted that they take their practice at home, in order to ensure that they are at par with the provisions given to them in class. In this regard, it was noted that the students who extended their studies at homes, recorded higher intelligent skills, as compared to those who only depended on the provisions that were given in class.
Moreover, a test questionnaire was given to the participants (pre-adolescents- both engaging in music education and those not engaging in it) and it was noted that the participants who engaged in music education had higher scores as compared to those who do not engage in music education. Notably, this test was aimed at testing their numeracy, and learning skills, in order to ascertain the level of their intelligent skills, with regard to their academic performance. Notably, it is evident that students who do not engage in music education lacked a boosting aspect, towards their performance in their academics.
It trying to find sufficient findings, the impact of music was also tested, based on different outcomes. In this regard, the outcomes were grouped into 5 different categories, which included cognitive skills, school achievement, time use, ambition, as well as personality. It is notable that this was assisted with the help of the participants’ music teachers as well, owing to the fact that their input was considered to be of great significance. In this regard, school grades, the participants’ cognitive skills, personality, as well as optimism on future professional success were measured, based on the provisions of the music teachers. Moreover, this was done in comparison with the adolescents who did not have music training. The results indicated that a good part of these differences remained unexplained even upon a significant level of control was mounted on a large number of the covariates. Notably, based on the cognitive test, it was evident that pre-adolescents who had a music training scored above average as compared to other children and this was noted to be twice the impact that was derived for sports participation. Clearly, this difference was driven particularly, by high score for figures and even analogies. In this regard, verbal, as well as spatial skills were noted to be strongly affected as compared to mathematical abilities.
With respect to personality, the musical teachers noted that they differed as well. Most of the teachers noted that they were more conscientious, and also open as compared to those without music training. In this regard, it is worth noting that learning of music instrument is not in any way associated with high agreeableness. Finally, it is significant noting that contrary to what would be expected, children with music training are not characterized by a high control perception. Looking at educational ambitions, as well as time use, it is evident that there is a systematic difference between the two groups. Pre-adolescents learning musical instruments are noted to be 15 per cent less likely to be watching TV on a daily basis. Moreover, they are 20 per cent more likely to obtain upper secondary school degree and 18 per cent likely to attend university.
Based on the primary aim of this study, which is to bring forth the correlation between music education and intelligent skills with specific focus on the effects it has on the brain, the findings of the study purpose to back up the literature review provided. Psychologists have argued that the brain is a muscle, learning to play and instrument and read music, thus posing as a crucial exercise (Rideout, 2002). Scientific studies have shown that learning and listening music has significant effects on the brain development of children and adolescents. Further, previous research demonstrates that early music training is responsible for actual physical changes in the brain structure and function. In particular, research show that music affects the brain through increasing the white matter in the corpus callosum that causes increased brain connectivity.
Based on the provisions of this study, it is significant taking note of the fact that children that have musical training performed better than those that had no training in musical achievement and second language development. The research showed that students who received musical training and visual arts over a period of seven months performed better than their control counterparts on mathematics. Clearly, this provides a suggestion that there is a relationship between music and mathematical skills. However, the same study indicated that musical training at an early age was not a predictor of mathematical development. It also showed that academic development can be attributed to other variables including parents’ role in music education of the child. Following the above, it is unclear whether musical training independently contributes to academic development in children or there other variables that influence the results. As a result, the study evidences mixed results that warrants for further investigation of the relationship.
It should as well be noted that a growing body of literature that has demonstrated that music lessons have an impact on the cognition of children. Diamond and Lee (2011) has suggested that music training has a significant effect on cognition including abilities of task-switching, working memory, planning, inhibition and interference control. Basically, the study provides evidence for the positive effects of music education on children’s brain, a confirmation that is in line with the research hypothesis. D’Souza and Wiseheart (2018) believe that mental ability presumed to be arising from music training could be attributed to other training activities or an individual’s background traits. In line with the mentioned, it is also evident that with respect to personality, there is a difference between children who have music training and those who lack it. Most of the teachers noted that they were more conscientious, and also open as compared to those without music training. In this regard, it is worth noting that learning of music instrument is not in any way associated with high agreeableness. Moreover, it is significant noting that contrary to what would be expected, children with music training are not characterized by a high control perception. Looking at educational ambitions, as well as time use, it is evident that there is a systematic difference between the two groups. Finally, in according to the provisions of Hallam (2010), he noted that musical experiences have an effect on the perception of language, which is related to learning to read. This author found out that when pre-adolescent children were subjected to music training for eight weeks, they exhibited improvements in perceptual cognition than controls. The study further shows that when children learn to play instruments, their left cranial temporal regions are enlarged hence their ability to remember words become enhanced. It follows that children who experience difficulties with their comprehension skills benefit from musical training in rhythmic performance.
This study makes it clear that even upon control of various parental background differences, it is evident that learning of musical instruments results into the attainment of better cognitive skills, better school grades, and higher openness, conscientiousness, and even ambition. Pre-adolescents who have learnt musical instruments, about the age of 8 years are noted to score more than a half standard deviation as compared to other children when subjected to a cognitive skill test. Notably, this advantage is significantly driven by verbal and not mathematical skills. Pre-adolescents who engaged in music training were noted to be more open and conscientious and as such, 10 per cent were less likely to engage in daily watching of TV, whereas 15 per cent were noted to aim at completing upper secondary schools, as well as attending university. Clearly, it was also discovered that pre-adolescents of low/medium socio-economic status, who had music training were significantly more optimistic, regarding their future, and the chances of their success. Moreover, pre-adolescents who engage in theatre or dance were noted to be more optimistic and also has a significant level of control, and with respect to cognitive skills, school grades, as well as conscientiousness, it was evident that that the impact of music are much stronger. Generally, this study makes it recommendable that music teachers should collaborate with other teachers to integrate and collaborate in the teaching of other subjects and music. Overall, vast evidence support the idea that music education is good for brain of pre-adolescents by aiding the development of intelligence in different areas including, literacy, numeracy and psychological development. Although other scholars have questioned the prioritisation of music in schools, the benefits of music education for pre-adolescents outweigh the negative impacts.
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