"A child's ability to distinguish musical rhythm is related to his or
her capacity for understanding grammar, according to a new study." writes The New Indian Express.
Rhythm and Grammar in Children - Video abstract for Gordon et al, 2014
Reyna Gordon from the Vanderbilt Kennedy Centre noted that the study is the first of its kind to show an association between musical rhythm and grammar.
Gordon looks forward to the possibilities of using musical education to improve grammar skills.
For example, rhythm could be taken into account when measuring grammar in children with language disorders. "This may help us predict who would be the best candidate for particular types of therapy or who's responding the best," she said.
"Is it the child with the weakest rhythm that needs the most help or is it the child that starts out with better rhythm that will then benefit the most?" said Gordon.
Gordon studied 25 typically developing 6-year-olds, first testing them with a standardised test of music aptitude.
A computer programme prompted the children to judge if two melodies - either identical or slightly different - were the same or different.
Next, the children played a computer game that the research team developed called a beat-based assessment. The children watched a cartoon character play two rhythms, then had to determine whether a third rhythm was played by "Sammy Same" or "Doggy Different."
To measure the children's grammar skills, they were shown a variety of photographs and asked questions about them.
Researchers explore links between grammar, rhythm (Vanderbilt researchers are studying the association between musical rhythm and grammar in children.)
Source: The New Indian Express and Reyna Gordon's Channel (YouTube)