Does Music Make You Smarter?

Are Children Who Learn Music Smarter?
Many people believe that teaching children music makes them smarter – better able to learn new things.  But the organizers of a new study say there is no scientific evidence that early musical training affects the intelligence of young people.  Jery Watson joins us with details.
An estimated 80 percent of American adults think music classes improve children’s ability to learn or their performance in school.  They say that the satisfaction from learning to play a new song helps a child express creativity.

An Afghan student practices playing the guitar in a class.
An Afghan student practices playing the guitar in a class.

Researchers at Harvard University, however, have found that there is one thing musical training does not do.  They say it does not make children more intelligent.
Samuel Mehr is a graduate student at Harvard’s School of Education.  He says it is wrong to think that learning to play a musical instrument improves a child’s intellectual development.
He says the evidence comes from studies that measured the mental ability of two groups of four-year-olds and their parents.  One group attended music class.  The other went to a class that places importance on the visual arts – arts that can be seen.
“The answer there is ‘no.’  We found no evidence for any advantage on any of these tests for the kids who were participating in music classes.”
Samuel Mehr says researchers have carried out many studies in an effort to learn whether musical training can make children smarter.  He says the results have been mixed.  He says only one study seemed to show a small percentage increase in IQ – intelligence scores – among students after one year of music lessons.
He does not believe that IQ is a good measure of a child’s intelligence.  He says researchers in his study compared how well children in the music training group did on mental processing tasks, or projects.  Then the results were compared to those of children who did not take lessons.
There was no evidence that the musical training group did much better on the mental tasks than the other group.  The researchers confirmed their results with a larger group of children and their parents.
Mr. Mehr says music lessons may not offer children a fast, easy way to gain entry to the best schools later on in life.  But he says the training is still important for cultural reasons.  In his words, “We teach music because music is important for us.”  He notes that the works of writer William Shakespeare are not taught so that children will do better in physics.  He says Shakespeare is taught because it is important.
 “And I don’t think music needs to be any different than that.”
A report on the benefits of music training in children was published in the journal PLOS ONE. I’m Jery Watson.
And I’m Jim Tedder in Washington.  Speaking of music, today is the birth date of a very famous American.  Three years before the turn of the century, in 1897, Marion Anderson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  She became one of America’s greatest opera singers.  Because she was an African American, she was not allowed to sing at Constitution Hall here in Washington.  So she performed before 75,000 people on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  She later became the first black woman to sing with the New York Metropolitan Opera.  Marion Anderson died in 1993.

[this article comes from VOA News:]


April 15th

Hi guys! 

• post 3 questions for The Bottle Imp here. 

• Make some Quizlet sets and post their links here! 

• Read the Guggenheim story again. 

• Review all chapters of The Bottle Imp

2 Research Questions

Hi Everyone! 

When you have finished writing your response and summary, please write two research questions and add them to this post. These research questions should be the result of careful thought and checking of notes. Your research questions need two things (from page 31 in our textbook): 

  1. The topic of your paper, usually in the form of a noun or noun phrase
  2. The focus (or focuses), which suggests what you will say about the topic and tells you what kind  of information to look for as you read. 

Tonight, you need only to add these two research questions to this post. However, on Wednesday, I want everyone to reply to both research questions of one of their groupmates. When you do this, please read the research question and answer the following questions: 

  • What is the topic?
  • What is the focus? (what are the focuses?)
  • What information from the readings might be useful?
  • What information should he or she look for? 

Globalization Group / First Responses

Lucia, Nozomi, Tamaki, and Hang!

Please post your responses to this article from our readings: 

Spiritual Perspectives on Globalization by Ira Rifkin

Please post one response, and please post a reply to one of your classmates’ responses. (Post these responses and replies to this blog post) 

Responses should be written according to the characteristics on page 14 in our textbook, using one of the techniques on page 14 and 15 of our textbook, and using the two steps on page 17 in our textbook. Please read these sections of our textbook before starting or finishing your response. 

Please read your classmates responses, and post a reply to one of their responses. If a classmate’s responses already has a reply, please reply to a different classmate’s response.   

Also, please read World Publics Welcome Global Trade – But Not Immigration by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, and write at least 4 good questions in the margins as your read. Also, please highlight 4 sections or more in the article that are of interest to you, or ones that have a connection to an experience or similarity from your life. 

Have a great weekend! 

Valentines Day Stories

Here are some interesting Valentines Day stories:

Let’s read one of these stories and post a comment!