Music education brightens academic performance

A new study from Canada suggests music lessons may in fact have wide-ranging intellectual benefits.
It finds that, among a group of high-performing high school students, grades were consistently higher for those who continued music classes compared to those who dropped them after two years of compulsory training.

  • Students who select music courses have better grades than the others in all subjects.
  • Cognitive mechanisms related to overcoming cognitive dissonances are discussed.
  • Enjoyment of music might cause academic improvement.

Listening to pleasant music while performing an academic test helps a student to overcome stress, to devote more time to more stressful and more complicated task and the grades get higher. In the journal Behavioural Brain Research, a team led by Leonid Perlovsky of Harvard University describes a study featuring 180 secondary school students in Quebec. Based on their excellence in elementary school, all were selected for an International Baccalaureate program, meaning they were “among the top grade level of their school.” During their first two years of secondary school, music education was compulsory. For the final three years, music courses were optional; the students had their choice of music, drama, or painting/sculpture classes.

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