Quick Facts & Quotes

Academic Development

Dr. Lassar Golkin brought music games into schools to help teach academic skills. Children who were unable to learn in a traditional school setting were able to learn the skills set to musical games.

Sharlene Habermeyer, Good Music, Brighter Children, California: Prima Publishing, 1999

Data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 showed that music participants received more academic honours and awards than non-music students, and that the percentage of music participants receiving A’s, A’s/B’s, and B’s was higher than the percentage of non-participants receiving those grades.

NELS:88 First Follow-Up, 1990, National Centre for Education Statistics, Washington, DC.

Students who were exposed to the music-based lessons scored a full 100 percent higher on fractions tests than those who learned in the conventional manner. Second-grade and third-grade students were taught fractions in an untraditional manner by teaching them basic music rhythm notation. The group was taught about the relationships between eighth, quarter, half and whole notes. Their peers received traditional fraction instruction.

Neurological Research, 1999

Middle school and high school students who participated in instrumental music scored significantly higher than their non-band peers in standardized tests. University studies conducted in Georgia and Texas found significant correlations between the number of years of instrumental music instruction and academic achievement in math, science and language arts.

University of Sarasota Study, Jeffrey Lynn Kluball; East Texas State University Study, Daryl Erick Trent, 2000

Studying music strengthens student’s academic performance. Studies have indicated that sequential, skill-building instruction in art and music integrated with the rest of the curriculum can greatly improve children’s performance in reading and math.

Martin Gardiner, Alan Fox, Faith Knowles, and Donna Jeffrey, Learning Improved by Arts Training, Nature, May 23, 1996.

Longer music study means higher SAT scores. For example, students participating in music for two years averaged 29 points higher on the verbal portion and 19 points higher on the math portion of the SAT than students with no coursework or experience in music. Students with four or more years in music scored 61 points higher and 45 points higher on the verbal and math portions respectively than students with no music coursework.

Profiles of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, The College Board, 1999.

The high proportion of children who evidenced [a] dramatic improvement in spacial-temporal reasoning as a result of music training should be of great interest to… educators, particularly because the duration of the effect lasts more than one day… an improvement of this magnitude may enhance learning of standard school curricula that draw heavily upon spacial-temporal reasoning abilities, such as mathematics and science.

Music Training Causes Long-Term Enhancement of Preschool Children’s Spatial-Temporal Reasoning, Frances H. Rauscher et al, Neurological Research In Press, 1996

Children exposed to a multi-year programme of music tuition involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers.

Study published in the Journal of Psychology of Music, reported in ScienceDaily, 2009


Studies have found that elementary students who received daily music instruction had fewer absences than other students.

N.H. Barry, J.A. Taylor, et K. Walls, Le rôle des Beaux-Arts et des Arts de la Scène dans la prévention du décrochage scolaire. Tallahassee, Floride: Centre pour la Recherche Musicale, Université de la Floride, 1990

Brain Development

Neurologist Dr. Gottfried Schlaug of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston found that the cerebellum, which contains about 70 percent of the brain’s neurons, is about 5 percent larger in expert male musicians than in men who have not had extensive musical training

Robert Lee Hotz, Study Suggests Music May Someday Help Repair Brain. Los Angeles Times. November 9, 1998

Studies show that tonotopic maps (pathways in the brain involved in determining the pitch of a note played on a piano) are about 25 percent larger in musicians than non-musicians, demonstrating that musical experiences during childhood influence the development of the brain’s auditory cortex

Neurology: Musical Maps May Grow with Experience. Washington Post, April, 1998.

Research shows that when a child listens to classical music the right hemisphere of the brain is activated, but when a child studies a musical instrument both left and right hemispheres of the brain light up. Significantly, the areas that become activated are the same areas that are involved in analytical and mathematical thinking.

Dee Dickinson, Music and the Mind. Seattle: New Horizons for Learning, 1993

Scientists have found that music involves both left, right, front, and back portions of the brain

Donald A. Hodges, Neuromusical Research. Handbook of Music Psychology. San Antonio: IMR Press. 1996

‘Musical training during childhood has a significant influence on brain growth’

Gottfried Schlaug, MD, PhD, American Academy of Neurology, May 2001

A majority of the engineers and technical designers in Silicon Valley are practicing musicians.

1997 finding of the Center for Arts in the Basic Curriculum

Early Years

Researchers at Keele University have reported that babies in the womb can hear and remember music as early as 20 weeks gestation. Babies showed signs of recognizing songs played to them in utero during the mothers’ 20th-21st weeks of pregnancy.

Nigel Hawkes, Foetus Has an Ear for Music at 20 Weeks, The London Times, 1998

There is substantial evidence indicating that babies are aware of and respond to music and different sounds inside their mother’s womb… A child’s brain develops its full potential when exposed to enriching experiences in early childhood. Stimuli received in early childhood are crucial to brain growth and the development of important connections made in nerve cell networks.

Findings of The International Foundation of Music Research, University of Texas at San Antonio, 2002

Research shows that when a child listens to classical music the right hemisphere of the brain is activated, but when a child studies a musical instrument both left and right hemispheres of the brain light up. Significantly, the areas that become activated are the same areas that are involved in analytical and mathematical thinking.

Dee Dickinson, Music and the Mind. (Seattle: New Horizons for Learning, 1993)


The average scores achieved by music students on the 1999 SAT, increased for every year of musical study. The same trend was found in SAT scores of previous years.

Steven M. Demorest and Steven J. Morrison, in “Does Music Make You Smarter?” Music Educators Journal, September 2000

Games and Music

A 2007 report by British charity Youth Music found that over 2.5 million children had picked up a ‘real’ instrument for the first time as a result of playing music based console games.

Andrew Missingham, Why Console Games are Bigger Than Rock’n’Roll, Youth Music, December 2007


Researchers in Colorado found that stroke patients who were given rhythmic auditory stimulation a half hour a day for three weeks had improved cadence, stride, and foot placement compared with a control group.

Marwick, Leaving Concert Hall for Clinic’s In The Mozart Effect by Don Campbell. (New York: Avon Books. 1997)

Self Esteem

Better singers tend to have a much more positive view of themselves – as singers and also in general – and a stronger sense of social inclusion. [The] other-than-musical benefits of music education, [are] positive impacts on physical and psychological (mental) health and wellbeing (such as relieving anxiety, promoting relaxation, improved lung function, lowered heart rate and blood pressure), as well as on self, social development and social attachment.

Professor Graham Welch, Chair of Music Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, Sing Up! Programme report 2009