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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Musical training offsets some academic achievement gaps, research says

"Learning to play a musical instrument or to sing can help disadvantaged children strengthen their reading and language skills, according to research. The findings, which involved hundreds of kids participating in musical training programs, highlight the role learning music can have on the brains of youth in impoverished areas." reports ScienceDaily

Learning to play a musical instrument or to sing can help disadvantaged children strengthen their reading and language skills, according to research presented at the American Psychological Association's 122nd Annual Convention.

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The findings, which involved hundreds of kids participating in musical training programs in Chicago and Los Angeles public schools, highlight the role learning music can have on the brains of youth in impoverished areas, according to presenter Nina Kraus, PhD, a neurobiologist at Northwestern University.
"Research has shown that there are differences in the brains of children raised in impoverished environments that affect their ability to learn," said Kraus. "While more affluent students do better in school than children from lower income backgrounds, we are finding that musical training can alter the nervous system to create a better learner and help offset this academic gap." Up until now, research on the impact of musical training has been primarily conducted on middle- to upper-income music students participating in private music lessons, she said.
The Harmony Project has launched programs in other urban school districts, including Miami, New Orleans, Tulsa, Kansas City, Missouri and Ventura, California.
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Source: ScienceDaily


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