The effect of engagement with music on cognitive and performance abilities
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The effect of engagement with music on cognitive and performance abilities. Music and Learning. Two Lines of Research. Learning to play music can enhance… Passive listening to music can enhance…. Music and the Brain. Learning to play music: Musical notation + motor response = engaged brain

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Music and Learning

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The effect of engagement with music on cognitive and performance abilities

The effect of engagement with music on cognitive and performance abilities

Music and Learning


Two lines of research

Two Lines of Research

Learning to play music can enhance…

Passive listening to music can enhance…


Music and the brain

Music and the Brain

  • Learning to play music:

    • Musical notation + motor response = engaged brain

    • Four studies: music lessons, MRI’s, and structural change

  • Passive listening:

    • MRI’s, emotions, and activation


Music learning and general cognitive abilities

Music Learning and General Cognitive Abilities

  • National Center for Education Services Data

  • Long Term music lessons, standardized tests, compare to control

  • Mixed results but small effects

    • SES, parental involvement, 2nd yr of study


Music learning and spatial reasoning

Music Learning and Spatial Reasoning

  • Both require visual analysis of objects to form whole

  • Meta-analysis- 15 studies find strong correlation

  • Methodological concerns


Music learning and math

Music Learning and Math

  • Reading musical notation = math

  • National Educational Longitudinal Survey

    • Music students get better math grades

  • Meta-analysis finds correlative data for young children


  • Arousal mood hypothesis

    Arousal-Mood Hypothesis

    • Original ‘Mozart affect’

      • ‘listening to music and spatial abilities tests require cortical firing patterns that are similar’

        • Rauscher, 1993

    • Passive listening  arousal/mood  cognitive abilities

      • Strong effect


    Arousal mood and math

    Arousal-Mood and Math

    • Small effect size when applied to math

      • Sample populations less than 20

  • Study proposal


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