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Music education prepares students to learn

Music education readies students for learning by helping to develop their basic mental skills and capacities. Music instruction impacts learning in the following ways:

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Music education facilitates student academic achievement

Not only do students who study music develop musical abilities, they receive benefits that extend to other academic areas, leading to overall scholastic success.

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Music education develops the creative capacities for lifelong success

Music education nurtures these habits of mind that are essential for success in today’s global, knowledge-based economy in the following ways:

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Music education prepares students to learn

Music education readies students for learning by helping to develop their basic mental skills and capacities. Music instruction impacts learning in the following ways:

Enhances fine motor skills. Motor function is the ability to use small, acute muscle movements to write, use a computer, and perform other physical activities essential for classroom learning. The parts of the brain associated with sensory and motor function are developed through music instruction, and musically trained children have better motor function than non-musically trained children (Forgeard, 2008; Hyde, 2009; Schlaug et al., 2005).

Prepares the brain for achievement. Complex math processes are more accessible to students who have studied music because the same parts of the brain used in processing math are strengthened through practice in music. For example, students who take music in middle school score significantly higher on algebra assessments in ninth grade than their non-music counterparts, as their brains are already accustomed to performing the processes used in complex math (Helmrich, 2010).

Improves recall and retention of verbal information. Musical training develops the region of the brain responsible for verbal memory—the recall and retention of spoken words—which serves as a foundation for retaining information in all academic subjects. Music students who were tested for verbal memory showed a superior recall for words as compared to non-music students (Ho et al., 1998; 2003).