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Music Lessons Increase IQ Scores In Children

Canadian research shows that children who study music experience increases in IQ scores faster than those who do not. The findings give new meaning to Mark Twain's old saying, “Wagner's music is better than in sounds.”

A study published by the journal Psychological Science found that children who took piano of voice lessons for an entire school year gained an additional three points on IQ tests.

According to Glenn Schellenberg, the author of the study and a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto at the University of Toronto at the Mississauga campus “Music lessons, taught individually or in small groups, may provide additional boosts in IQ because they are like school but still enjoyable... Moreover, music lessons involve a multiplicity of experiences that could generate improvement in a wide range of activities.”

While quick to point out that music was not necessarily unique in improving intelligence Dr. Schellenberg believes that children could make similar gains from reading or playing chess.

In the study, 144 children were recruited through a newspaper ad offering free weekly art lessons to six –year-olds. The children were randomly assigned to four different groups: keyboard lessons, voice lessons, drama classes, or no lessons. (The children getting no lessons were offered them free of charge the next year, after the study was completed).

The children underwent a battery of psychological and intelligence tests, before and after the lessons, which lasted an entire school year. It was found that the average IQ scores of the children in all four groups increased, but those taking music lessons had the sharpest rise.

Both the music and drama students showed significant improvement in IQ score. Schellenberg believes that these findings reinforce past research that shows IQ is bolstered by school attendance and that instruction is particularly effective when it is done in small groups, as with music and drama. In addition, the children who studied drama had significance improvements in their social skills, something not seen in the music group.

1) Picard, Andre. “Music Lessons Cause Faster Rise In Children's IQ.” The Globeand Mail Online Posting 16 July 2004

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