In 2005 the Australian Government released the National Review of School Music Education which found a lack of meaningful musical education throughout Australian schools. As is well known, we at Music Australia strongly advocate for meaningful music education for all children, in all schools, at all ages. While many benefits of a musical education are well known, many more are still being discovered.
A new study recently published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience has shown a strong, positive link between music education and academic achievement. The study followed 147 children in six Dutch schools over two and a half years. The children were divided into groups based on receiving a music education, a visual arts education, or no inclusion of arts in their normal education curriculum. The groups receiving music and arts education were given both theoretical and practical lessons.
After two and a half years, the children were assessed on their academic performance and other cognitive skills such as problem-solving, inhibition, memory power, and verbal IQ. The results showed that the children who received a music education experienced significant cognitive improvements compared to the other groups in the study.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Artur Jaschke said “Children who received music lessons showed improved language-based reasoning and the ability to plan, organize and complete tasks, as well as improved academic achievement”.
Interestingly, the children who received a visual arts education experienced a significant improvement in visual and spatial short-term memory compared with the other groups. The researchers hope the results of the study will highlight the importance of music and the arts as an integral part of the school curriculum.