Ukulele players

Learning the ukulele makes children more helpful and caring

According to recently published research by the University of Toronto–Mississauga, third- and fourth-graders in Canada who initially scored low in sympathy and helpfulness developed those qualities at above-average rates if they took group 40-minute music lessons for a full school year: in this case, on the ukulele.

These particular lessons featured group performances on the ukulele, “an affordable and child-friendly instrument,” notes the research team, which was led by psychologist E. Glenn Schellenberg. Playing the ukulele with others helped young people with attitude and behaviour issues mature into more caring individuals—a welcome effect that occurred whether the class was compulsory or voluntary.

The results provide further evidence that music “fosters social cohesion, cooperation, and a pro-social orientation,” the researchers write in the online journal PLoS One, and are consistent with a 2010 study by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, that found singing and marching in unison produced increased co-operation among German pre-schoolers.

Perhaps the instrument should be re-named a You-kulele, since it helps behaviorally challenged children shift their orientation from “me” to “you.”

SOURCES:
Pacific Standard: http://www.psmag.com/health-and-behavior/the-ukulele-is-more-than-somewhere-over-the-rainbow
PLoS One: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0141449
Pacific Standard (2010 study): http://www.psmag.com/books-and-culture/do-re-mi-promotes-a-feeling-of-we-19058

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: SYMPATHY & SOCIAL COHESION
TARGET GROUP: CHILDREN
AGE: 8-9 YEARS
MUSIC TYPE: UKELELE
TYPE OF STUDY: ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: 84
PERIOD OF STUDY: 10 MONTHS
DATE: 2012-13 (PUBLISHED 2015)
PLACE: CANADA

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