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Music and Learning: Does Music Make You Smarter?

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Music and Learning: Does Music Make You Smarter?

Musical sounds pervade our lives: from music shared on social media to songs played in stores and restaurants, we are never far from music. Playing music provides a multisensory “workout” for the brain, which can improve memory, attention, and even reading ability. In this article, we discuss how music training affects various brain functions such as hearing, sight, movement, and social awareness. Because music is so accessible and is more than just songs, you do not have to be a Mozart to reap the benefits of playing it. You are engaging in musical behaviour whenever you communicate without using words (by the way you say something rather than what you say). In this blog, we will look at research on learning and music to see why music can help us develop our brains and how music can be a part of our lives both in and out of the classroom.


Will Listening To Music Make You Smarter?


Some scientists initially believed that simply listening to music would be beneficial to the brain. They demonstrated that listening to Mozart’s classical music improved people’s IQ scores on IQ tests. As a result, many people believe that listening to music improves one’s intelligence. However, this was an exaggeration of the results and an oversimplification of the results. Following studies, it was discovered that listening to music does not make you smarter, but rather increases your enjoyment and reduces your stress levels, which can lead to improved focus and test scores. This means that, while listening to music in your home or the classroom will not automatically improve your performance, it may be useful in helping you focus on a new task or in situations requiring increased attention and reduced stress. Furthermore, simply listening to music may have a different or possibly smaller effect than playing music. This is similar to how participating in sports improves your physical condition more than simply watching them. As a result, playing along with music could increase the focusing power of music.


Martin J. B. of the University of Kansas looked at 1000 students in middle school to see if there was a link between music education and improved performance in other subjects like Maths and reading. Martin believed that if he adjusted his findings for demographic and environmental factors such as race, income, and education, the long-held link between music and academic achievement would vanish.


Martin and his co-author Kevin M. Weingarten were surprised to find that learning music did appear to make students better mathematicians and readers after meticulously controlling for demographic factors. They published their findings in the Journal of Research in Music Education.


The link between music education and academic achievement has recently been called into question by a study that compared the findings of a large number of published studies. When students are randomly assigned to groups learning music and others learning another activity such as dance or sport, the academic advantage provided by music is less obvious.


An Interesting Research


Yes, you read it right, this research is interesting as the researcher wanted to disprove the myth of ‘music makes learning better’ but he was shocked with the results. 


In the research, Martin does not claim that music is a magical elixir for a better mind, but he does claim that it can help develop generalizable learning processes. “The point we tried to make based on the findings is that there might be, and probably are, general learning processes that underpin all academic achievement, regardless of the area,” Martin said. “There are probably more generalised mental processes that are brought to bear on any of those areas, whether it’s music achievement, math achievement, or reading achievement.”


Martin’s study, according to Anita Collins, a music researcher and educator, is a particularly thorough attempt to separate the effects of music education from broader social and demographic factors.


“There are so many variables to consider in education. It is not black-and-white, and it should not be. We are in the process of becoming human beings. Humans are among the most complex creatures on the planet.”


Martin’s research, according to Collins, supports a holistic approach to education. “[Music education] should be viewed as an important component of a broader educational approach that includes a variety of experiences.” It is about educating the entire child. And music appears to be a part of that, according to this research.”


Also published on Medium.

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