Music helps students score well in exams. Study

Washington: A recent study has found that high school students who opt for courses in music score good marks during exams in certain subjects like Maths and Science, rather than non-musical students.

The study was published in the journal, ‘Journal of Educational Psychology.

According to the American Psychological Association, it has been found that developing a liking for certain musical courses can help one score better in exams, reported by Medical Express.

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Peter Gouzouasis, lead author of the study said, “In public education systems in North America, art courses, including music courses, are commonly underfunded in comparison with what are often referred to as academic courses, including Math, Science and English.”

He further added, “It is believed that students who spend school time in music classes, rather than in further developing their skills in math, science and English classes, will underperform in those disciplines. Our research suggests that, in fact, the more they study music, the better they do in those subjects.”

The researchers examined all the school records of the students in British Columbia who started their first grade between 2000 and 2003; completed the last three years of high school; had completed at least one standardized exam for math, science or English (10th or 12th grade); keeping the demographic information (e.g., gender, ethnicity, neighborhood socioeconomic status) in mind.

The researchers studied the records of more than 112,000 students and found that approximately 13 per cent of the students had participated in at least one music course in standard 10, 11 or 12.

The music courses that qualify for this study included concert band, conservatory piano, orchestra, jazz band, concert choir and vocal jazz. General music or guitar courses did not qualify as they do not require previous music experience

The lead author said, “Students who participated in music, who had higher achievement in music, and who were highly engaged in music had higher exam scores across all subjects, while these associations were more pronounced for those who took instrumental music rather than vocal music.”

“On average, the children who learned to play a musical instrument for many years, and were now playing in high school band and orchestra, were the equivalent of about one academic year ahead of their peers with regard to their English, mathematics and science skills, as measured by their exam grades,” he concluded.

The lead author believes that some skills learned in a band, orchestra, and conservatory music lessons is a lot more helpful for adolescents’ learning in school.

“Learning to play a musical instrument and playing in an ensemble is very demanding. A student has to learn to read music notation, develop eye-hand-mind coordination, develop keen listening skills, develop team skills for playing in an ensemble and develop the discipline to practice. All those learning experiences play a role in enhancing children’s cognitive capacities and their self-efficacy,” he said.

The researchers hope that their findings are given attention by the student’s guardians, teachers and administrative decision-makers in education, as several schools in the past have emphasized more on education at the cost of other areas of learning, particularly music.


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