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PLoS One. 2008;3(10):e3566. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003566. Epub 2008 Oct 29.

Practicing a musical instrument in childhood is associated with enhanced verbal ability and nonverbal reasoning.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In this study we investigated the association between instrumental music training in childhood and outcomes closely related to music training as well as those more distantly related.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

Children who received at least three years (M = 4.6 years) of instrumental music training outperformed their control counterparts on two outcomes closely related to music (auditory discrimination abilities and fine motor skills) and on two outcomes distantly related to music (vocabulary and nonverbal reasoning skills). Duration of training also predicted these outcomes. Contrary to previous research, instrumental music training was not associated with heightened spatial skills, phonemic awareness, or mathematical abilities.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

While these results are correlational only, the strong predictive effect of training duration suggests that instrumental music training may enhance auditory discrimination, fine motor skills, vocabulary, and nonverbal reasoning. Alternative explanations for these results are discussed.

PMID:
18958177
PMCID:
PMC2570220
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0003566
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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