Children receiving community-based music instruction are better students, say scientists

Posted on: October 16, 2013

On Wednesday (10/9) at the Atlantic Monthly website, Lori Miller Kase writes about scientists studying the brains of students in free music programs for underserved children. According to one researcher, Dr. Nina Kraus, “Music instruction not only improves children’s communication skills, attention, and memory, but … may even close the academic gap between rich and poor students.” The article covers research being conducted at the Harmony Project and Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, both based in L.A., and Community Opus, in San Diego. At the Harmony Project, Kraus is studying “the neurological impact of school and community-based music training—as opposed to private music lessons … particularly on lower-income students.” Kraus discovered that, among other benefits they have noticed that “children who have better rhythm tend to be better readers…. Chula Vista school district officials have been so impressed” with preliminary research about San Diego Youth Symphony’s Community Opus afterschool string program “that they have committed to hiring full-time music teachers for all 45 of the district’s schools.… According to [SDYS President and CEO] Dalouge Smith … Community Opus participating schools reported … these students also performed significantly better on fourth grade math and reading proficiency tests.”

Posted October 16, 2013