As music teachers, on a daily basis we all see the many benefits that music has on our student’s lives and how it helps them to become more able in other subject areas, but now it’s noted officially!
In a recent press briefing on Feb 20th, 2010 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) annual meeting neuroscience researcher, Nina Kraus argued that musical training increases the brains ability to process speech better and should therefore be an integral part of any school curriculum.
Kraus, director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory in Northwestern’s School of Communication said “Music training is not only beneficial for processing music stimuli. We’ve found that years of music training may also improve how sounds are processed for language and emotion.”
Nina and her colleagues have been measuring the pitch inflections of different verbal sounds of musicians versus non musicians, and has found that people with musical training recognize the sounds better than non- musicians. Here is a news report, taken back in March 2008 which demonstrates how it is done in more detail.
The interesting thing about the study is that you don’t have to be particularly good at the subject to gain the full benefit, it’s just about doing it. On the Video, Kraus stated “It’s not about becoming a professional violinist, it’s about getting an education”
She goes on to say “unfortunately music as with foreign languages are one of the first subjects to get cut from our schools” and in her recent briefing she said” “Cash-strapped school districts are making a mistake when they cut music from the K-12 curriculum”.