Music Develops The Child Brain
By Alvin Poh
Music has the ability to train our brain for
higher level of thinking - the kind of thinking for problem
solving, comparing and contrasting the similarities and difference
between objects, analyzing, reaching conclusion, synthesizing, and
In recent research, it was found that music can
help in developing human's spatial-temporal reasoning skill.
Spatial-temporal reasoning is the ability to perceive the visual
world accurately and form mental images of objects. It is the mind
ability to see in very detailed images and to recognize, compare
and find relationships among the patterns and details on an
object. The temporal element involves a child's ability to think
In learning music, one must be able to play a
note, then a series of notes, then a series of chords, and the
able to look ahead at the music and determine where and what will
be played next.
Many studies and experiments have been conducted
to prove the power of the music on our brain. Below are the
finding in some recent years research:
Research and Finding 1:
In 1994, Drs Gordon Shaw and Frances Rauscher who
are scientists at the University of California at Irvin, conducted
an experiment to find out the link between spatial reasoning and
music. They divided seventy-nice college students into three
groups. Each group was given a cutting and folding task.
The first group was given the opportunity to
listen to ten minutes of Mozart's Sonata in D for Two pianos, K.
488. The second group heard ten minutes of minimalist (Philip
Glass's Music with Changing Parts) and rhythmically repetitive
music (Ian Rich's C-Level Productions mix of Mortal Stomp and
Carry Me Through). The third was the control group where the
students did not listen to any music piece.
The result was - there was no significant
occurrence with the second and third group. However the students
in the first group who had listened to the music of Mozart,
experienced an increase in their spatial IQ of eight to nine
points in just ten minutes! Although the effect was temporary, the
scientists believed that a particular organization of the elements
in the music caused the improvement in the spatial-temporal
reasoning. This phenomenon is now commonly known as the "Mozart
Research and Finding 2:
After the above experiment which showed that by
listening to music, it could caused an increase in
spatial-temporal reasoning, scientists began to wondered if the
effect can be prolonged by studying a musical instrument.
To find out the result, the scientists conducted a
test on thirty-three three-year-old pre-schoolers in Los Angeles.
They choose three-year-old children because the cortexes of their
brain were still maturing and any effect from music education will
be most observed as compared to a matured brain.
The children were divided into two groups. The
first group had 19 children who were provided with eight months of
keyboard and singing lesson. The remaining 14 children belonged to
the control group which did not receive any training. For the
first group, their training consisted of weekly ten to fifteen
minute private keyboard lesson, daily practice periods and a daily
thirty minute singing time.
The children were tested after eight months later.
They were required to perform five tasks to test their spatial
- arranging pieces of a puzzle to form a complete
- matching depicted pattern using flat,
- placing correct color pegs into holes under a
series of pictured animals
- performing a geometric design task
- describing what was "wrong" or "silly" about a
And here were results:
The spatial-temporal reasoning of the children in
the control group increase by only 6 percent. However children
from the group which received music training showed a great
improved in their spatial-temporal reasoning by 46 percent!
Research and Finding 3:
To confirm the results and finding in the above
experiment, the scientists conducted another test. This time they
took another group of seventy-eight preschoolers and divided into
- The first group consisted of thirty-four
students who were given private daily piano lessons
- The second group consisted of twenty students.
The children in this group received ten minutes of private
computer training every day.
- The third group had 12 students who received
- The last group were a control group where the
children did not attend any form of lesson.
The children were tested after six months later
and the results were:
Children in the first group had the most dramatic
improvement in spatial-temporal reasoning - an increased by 34 per
cent in performance!
Research and Finding 4:
In 1998, the scientists perform another experiment
to find out how a computer math game called "Spatial-Temporal
Animation Reasoning (STAR) coupled with either piano lessons or
English-language training affected students performance in math.
This experiment were conducted over 4 months
period and the subjects were 170 second-graders from an elementary
school in Los Angeles.
The children were divided into 3 groups:
- Group 1 consisted of children who studied the
piano keyboard and the math video game
- Group 2 consisted of children who received
English language training and studied the math video game
- Group 3 were the control group which did not
receive any training.
After four months, a test were conducted and the
Children in Group 1 and 2 who received training in
the computer game showed a 100 percent improvement in their math
skills as compared to the control group. Also, the students who
received piano keyboard training along with the math video game
did 27 percent better on questions related to fractions and
proportional math than those who received training in English
language and the math video game. And lastly, the teachers of the
group also reported that the children who studied piano key
boarding demonstrated better attention and concentration
Article by Alvin Poh, founder of Learning Champ, a parenting wesbite
that provides information and resources to parents, who want to help
their children develop the important skills and mind set for a
brighter future -