Does Music Improve Learning?


Students are attracted to learning how to play an instrument, sing or read music because music is fun and engaging. Music can also be a wonderful hobby that offers a lifetime of benefits and learning. In addition, it’s also known in the scientific and music communities that learning music and listening to music can actually have a positive impact in other areas of learning.

For decades, scientists have studied how music can impact the ability for a student to learn and retain information, and scientists have even studied whether or not music had a physical impact on the brain itself. While scientists continue to study the impact music has on learning, there is no doubt that the effect music has on students is a powerful one.

If you or your child is considering taking music lessons, voice lessons or studying music, you should know a little about the benefits music offers.

How Music Effects Learning

In many ways learning music is much like learning a language. For students, learning how to understand music, read music or play an instrument can actually change the brain and impact other areas of learning. Numerous scientific studies suggest that the impact music has on the brain begins with connections brain cells make during musical training – connections that aid and assist other forms of communication including speech, language and reading. In other words, learning music is a form of exercise for the brain.

That exercise can have a profound impact on learning itself. Children who are musically trained tend to have larger vocabularies and advance reading skills than children who have not had musical education. And music can also help students retain important information. Teachers have long known that getting children to memorize information is much easier if the facts and information can be put to music.

Interestingly, teachers and schools aren’t the only ones that use music to teach. Major corporations have used to music to teach new materials to employees and cut learning time in half. Other businesses have found that clerical errors are less likely to occur when workers listen to music.

And in 1996 a study conducted by the College Entrance Exam Board Service found that students who sang or played a musical instrument scored 51 points higher on the verbal portion of their SATs and 39 points higher on the math portion of the test.

But the benefits of music are even more far reaching. Psychologists and others in the medical community have used music to help calm students with problems such as ADD/ADHD and even autism. And a book published in the 90s called The Mozart Effect claimed that music reduces stress, improves communication and increases productivity.

Of course, music is worth studying on its own merits. Knowing how to play an instrument and appreciate a composition isn’t something one can put a price tag on. Even so, it’s important to know that the benefit of music lessons and in dedicating oneself to the study of music can have a profound impact in other areas of life, making music even more fun and engaging to the student.