Music programme improves IQ, reading and concentration for children from disadvantaged backgrounds

A study by Aix-Marseille University found that a music training programme (Démos) improved musicality scores, total IQ and Symbol Search scores (indicating cognitive processing speed and visual perception) as well as concentration abilities and reading precision.

The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of the programme on the cognitive development of children from low socio-economic backgrounds. The study was specifically interested in general intelligence, phonological awareness and reading abilities, and in other cognitive abilities such as auditory and visual attention, and working and short-term memory.

The Démos programme (“Dispositif d’éducation musicale et orchestrale à vocation sociale”, Musical and orchestral education with social vocation) was initiated by the Paris Philharmonie in 2010. Its objective is to promote the cognitive development and the social integration of children from disadvantaged backgrounds through access to culture and free classical music training.

The researchers used a longitudinal approach, with the 7-12-year-old children given standardised tests before the start and after 18 months of music training. Initially, 54 children from two primary schools in middle-class areas in Marseille were involved. Although these areas would not typically be called underprivileged, the schools were chosen because they are dedicated to the education of children from low socio-economic status. Nineteen children could not be retested at the end of the study period, so the total number of children tested twice was 35.

In line with previous results, these findings demonstrate the positive impact of an ecologically-valid music training programme on the cognitive development of children from low socio-economic backgrounds.

SOURCE:
PlosOne: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0216874

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT & SOCIAL INTEGRATION
TARGET GROUP: CHILDREN
AGE: 7-12-YEAR-OLDS
MUSIC TYPE: CLASSIC
TYPE OF STUDY: ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: 35 (54 INITIALLY)
PERIOD OF STUDY: 18 MONTHS
DATE: 2018
PLACE: FRANCE

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