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Scientists Just Discovered an Amazing Benefit of Giving Kids Music Lessons - Health - Heroslodge

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Scientists Just Discovered an Amazing Benefit of Giving Kids Music Lessons by Noblex: 11:08 am On Jun 28

Scientists Just Discovered an Amazing Benefit of Giving Kids Music Lessons

Giving children music lessons won't just introduce them to a world of rhythm and melody – it could also significantly improve their language skills. While numerous studies have shown that learning an instrument can impact things like language ability, it wasn't understood if this was a side effect of a general boost to cognitive skills, or something that directly affected language processing.

Now, we are getting closer to an answer, thanks to a study of 74 Chinese kindergarten children, led by neuroscientist Robert Desimone from MIT. "The children didn't differ in the more broad cognitive measures, but they did show some improvements in word discrimination, particularly for consonants," explains Desimone. "The piano group showed the best improvement there."

Test results showed that the children who had taken piano lessons performed significantly better at discriminating between words that differ by a single consonant, when compared against the children who took extra reading lessons. Compared to the control group, both the music learners and the extra reading group did better in terms of discriminating words based on vowel differences.

To get a sense of why these differences might be occurring, the researchers measured the children's brain activity via electroencephalography (EEG) and found the piano group exhibited greater sensitivity to tonal changes when tones were played to them at different pitches.

Perhaps more importantly, results of IQ, attention, and working memory among the three groups didn't show any significant differences, suggesting that the boost given by music instruction isn't a general cognitive lift, but something specific to language (and perhaps the tone-based elements of it).

Of course, we're only looking at a fairly small sample of kids here, and all of them were from a Mandarin-speaking background. Given Mandarin's reliance on tonal differentiation, the researchers
acknowledge that might have influenced the results.

But it's also worth emphasising that the musical education helped these children outperform their peers in language tests – even beyond the results of kids who took extra reading classes, which is something that should make educators pay close attention.

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