How music lessons can improve language skills
Piano lessons teach kindergartners how to distinguish pitch and thus better discriminate between spoken words.
- Music lessons are more specific to language processing than they are to general cognitive ability.
“The children didn’t differ in the more broad cognitive measures, but they did show some improvements in word discrimination, particularly for consonants. The piano group showed the best improvement there,”. - Robert Desimone, director of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research.
- Music training is at least as beneficial to improving language skills than extra reading lessons.
“If children who received music training did as well or better than children who received additional academic instruction, that could be a justification for why schools might want to continue to fund music,” - Prof. Robert Desimone.
“There are positive benefits to piano education in young kids, and it looks like for recognizing differences between sounds including speech sounds, it’s better than extra reading. That means schools could invest in music and there will be generalization to speech sounds,” Desimone says. “It’s not worse than giving extra reading to the kids, which is probably what many schools are tempted to do — get rid of the arts education and just have more reading.”