Saturday, March 5, 2011

Music Education Strengthens Students' Minds in Many Ways

"Many colleges view participation in the arts and music as a valuable experience that broadens students understanding and appreciation of the world around them. It is also well known and widely recognized that the arts contribute significantly to children’s intellectual development."

Students with coursework/experience in music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT: students in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal and 41 points higher on the math, and students in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on the math, than did students with no arts participation.

Students who participated in arts programs in selected elementary and middle schools in New York City showed significant increases in self-esteem and thinking skills. The musician is constantly adjusting decisions on tempo, tone, style, rhythm,phrasing, and feeling--training the brain to become incredibly good at organizing and conducting numerous activities at once. Dedicated practice of this orchestration can have a great payoff for lifelong attentional skills,intelligence, and an ability for self-knowledge and expression.

John J. Ratey, MD
Clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

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