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ERIC Number: ED480540
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Sep
Pages: 4
Abstractor: N/A
Can Music Instruction Affect Children's Cognitive Development? ERIC Digest.
Rauscher, Frances H.
Several studies have examined the effects of music instruction on children's abilities in other disciplines. Other studies have explored the effects of listening to music on adults' spatial abilities. Noting that these two sets of findings have been confused, leading to claims that listening to music can improve children's academic abilities, this Digest evaluates these claims and discusses the evidence regarding effects of music "instruction" on children's abilities. The Digest examines the so-called "Mozart Effect," noting that the effects of listening to music were studied only in adults, lasted only a few minutes, and were found only for spatial-temporal reasoning, but were nevertheless misinterpreted to mean that listening to music could make children "smarter." The Digest then reviews studies on the effects of music instruction, as opposed to simply listening, on children's spatial-temporal ability, mathematics ability, and reading ability. The research suggests that music may act as a catalyst for cognitive abilities in other disciplines, and the relationship between music and spatial-temporal reasoning is particularly compelling. The Digest cautions, however, that several concerns remain unaddressed: little is known regarding exact aspects of music instruction that contribute to the transfer effects; further longitudinal studies are needed to determine the duration of these effects; currently available tests of reading and math achievement may not be sufficiently sensitive to the complexity of language and mathematical learning potentially affected by music instruction. Care must be taken to ensure that scientific goals do not displace developmentally appropriate music instruction. (HTH)
ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Children's Research Center, University of Illinois, 51 Gerty Dr., Champaign, IL 61820-7469. Tel: 800-583-4135 (Toll Free); Tel: 217-333-1386; Fax: 217-333-3767; e-mail:; Web site: For full text:
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Champaign, IL.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A