Music lessons enhance executive functions in 6- to 7-year-old children

Researchers from the Department of Developmental Psychology at Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, Germany, have found that instrumental music lessons have an impact on specific executive functions in children.

Executive function is often described as “the management system of the brain.” That’s because the skills involved let us set goals, plan, and get things done. When people struggle with executive function, it impacts them at home, in school, and in life.

There are three main areas of executive function:

  1. Working memory
  2. Cognitive flexibility (also called flexible thinking)
  3. Inhibitory control (which includes self-control)

Find out more about Executive function.

The researchers (Ulrike Frischen, Gudrun Schwarzer and Franziska Degé) wanted to investigate the causal relations between instrumental musical training and executive functions in children. While previous research has focused on comprehensive music lessons taught in school, it remained unclear as to whether pure instrumental music lessons as an extracurricular activity would reveal similar results.

Ninety-four primary school children, aged 6-7 years, were randomly assigned to one of three groups – a music group, an arts group, or a control group. The study followed an experimental approach with active and passive controls, and different measures of executive functions were assessed in pre- and post-tests.

The results revealed an improvement in children from the music group for some components of executive functions. The researchers believe that the effectiveness of the instrumental musical training might be linked to the developmental trajectories of executive functions.

SOURCES:

ScienceDirect: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0959475221000013

Bigger Better Brains: https://biggerbetterbrains.com/

DETAILS:

BENEFIT:EXECUTIVE BRAIN FUNCTIONING
TARGET GROUP:CHILDREN
AGE:6-7 YEARS-OLD
MUSIC TYPE:INSTRUMENTAL
TYPE OF STUDY:ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED:94
PERIOD OF STUDY:UNKNOWN
DATE:2021
PLACE:GERMANY

Photo by Nadeena Granville on Unsplash

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