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Study: Young Musicians Smarter

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

A new study recently released shows that children who study a musical instrument for at least three years outperform children with no musical instrument training on non-musical tests of vocabulary and non-verbal reasoning.

The study was done by a researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School and a researcher at Boston College and Project Zero. The findings were published in the online journal PLoS ONE.

Researchers says the results suggest a link between musical training and cognitive abilities, but say further studies are necessary to figure out whether one causes the other.

“It could be that kids who are better at these skills to begin with are the ones who stick with music training,” psychologist and study co-author Ellen Winner said. “So if I’m a really smart kid I’m more likely to stick with music training.”

Tests showed the kids who played instruments scored much higher than their non-musical counterparts on auditory discrimination and finger dexterity, both skills closely tied with musical training.

The young musicians’ vocabulary scores were 15 percent higher, and non-verbal reasoning scores were 11 percent higher. The longer the child was musically trained, the higher the scores.

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