Students who take music classes also do better academically, according to Study Finds

By Mitch Rice

Students who study music in high school score higher in English, science, and math.

Music is the language and food of the soul, it’s the language of emotions. Could music also boost your grade, high school students as sources with college economics homework help? Researchers believe so, if students actually play the music and not just listen to it.

The Journal of Educational Psychology has published a new study that shows musical instrument-playing high school students score significantly better in science, math, and English than their non-musical peers. This study is the largest of its type and examines the academic performance of more than 110,000 Canadian students.

Something to Sing About

Peter Gouzouasis is a professor of music education at University of British Columbia. He was the senior author of the study. Peter has been studying the impact of music education on academic achievement since over 20 years. His findings showed that students who took three to four music classes in high school were one year ahead of peers who did not take any music classes.

Similar studies have shown that students who are better at music are more likely than others to learn it. This makes them more likely to be more successful in life. Gouzouasis claims that his findings point to a “music phenomenon”, which means that music has a special benefit for students.

According to Gouzouasis, exam grades for music and non-music students varied despite previous academic achievements on similar exams in seventh grade. Other factors such as gender, ethnicity and income level of the family didn’t impact exam grades.

Music and math

Gouzouasis’s colleagues discovered that music lessons can improve academic performance. The predictive relationship between high math achievement and high music scores was also observed by Gouzouasis and colleagues. This meant that students who receive high music grades tended to do better in math.

However, high-scoring math students did not perform better in music lessons. This suggests that music was helping to boost their success.

Music students can engage in many learning activities that could help their school’s performance. They learn how to read music notation and improve their eye-hand coordination. Gouzouasis states that it is possible for some of the skills acquired in conservatory, orchestra and band lessons to transfer to school.

Researchers continue to study how music learning can translate into higher grades. Gouzouasis had some theories, even though he didn’t investigate them in the current study. He believes that changes in the structure and functioning of Heschl’s Gyrus and the auditory cortex could lead to new tasks. Cognitive benefits could also be derived from the ability to “audit,” which is to imagine music and hear it.

Gouzouasis, along with colleagues, also examined the effects of vocal and instrumental music engagement separately. This is because students in both forms of music have very different learning styles. Vocal students don’t learn how to read or play musical notation. They found that both instrumental and vocal performers performed better than their non-musical counterparts.

Students who studied instrumental music scored higher than students who were involved in vocal studies. These students are more likely to develop their cognitive abilities because of the greater demands that instrumental music education places on them.

The Results can be compared

The authors expect that the results of the study, which was done with data from Canadian students only, would be comparable elsewhere. Gouzouasis states that the patterns of our findings clearly show that music participation, especially instrumental music, confers cognitive benefits in form of tangible differences on many aspects of academic achievement.

If you want to help your children academically, it might be time to get in touch with the music. They hope that their findings will inspire school administrators to encourage music education in the classroom.