December 16, 2018
Children in a painting class
Wellness Tip

Music and Art Classes May Improve Academic Performance

by Wellness Letter  

Need additional reason to encourage your children or grandchildren to take music or art classes in school? The lessons may improve general cognitive skills that underlie academic performance, suggested a Dutch study in Frontiers in Neuroscience in February 2018.

Researchers chose 147 children (most 6 or 7 years old) to receive structured musical training (learning the fundamentals of music as well as playing instruments and singing), visual art training, or no music or art training besides that in the standard curriculum. After 2½ years, they found that the music group had significant cognitive improvements—notably in verbal reasoning and problem solving—compared to children who did not take extra music lessons. Children who took art classes showed improvements in visual and spatial memory compared to those who had no extra art training. The study did not compare the music and visual art groups.

This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.

Also see Singing Is Good Medicine.