In every culture, all around the world, you can find musicwithin it somehow and because of this, music has become a big part of our livesin general. Something interesting is how it influences the development ofchildren. One way it can influence children is cognitively. Music can helpimpact their cognitive development in regards to language, memory, and evenperception. There are some researchers that are interested in documentingpreschool children listening to music and seeing how that effects theirdevelopment.
A good example ofthis would be the “Mozart Effect”.!!!!! The “Mozart Effect”claims that children who listen to the music of Mozart will in fact improve intheir development cognitively. This effect, however, has proven to be false,but that does not mean that music does not affect the cognitive development atall. In 2005, G. Schlaug, A. Norton, E. Winner, K. Cronin, and D.
J. Lee wantedto know if there were any pre-existing motoric, neural, or cognitive markersfor abilities in music so they created a study. !!!!Once their study had ended theyfound that there was not any correlation to music skills and brain measures.There was another study done by L. Gromko.
Her study stated that she believedthat children who are under the influence of training in music will begin todevelop better hearing skills in regards to words and sounds that are spokenfaster than children who did not receive this type of musical training. In onemore study in 2008, K. Moore, M. Franklin, C. Yip, K. Rattray, J Moher, and J.
Jonides!!!! found that there was greater evidence in working memory span inmusicians than in those who were not musicians. There is a definite need totest and study the interest of music in children and how it influences theirultimate outcome on their performance academically. In the world of research and researchers, there are someresearchers that are interested in documenting how listening to music effectschildren’s development. In this line of research, there is one area of thisthat focuses on the things that children listen to while listening to musicitself. There is also another line of research that researches how certainforms of music might impact the development of children outside of the domainof music. An example of this first research direction would be exploring theinfluential experience on a child’s ability to be able to match visual stimulusand auditory within the musical domain. In 1994, Gross, Pick, Love, Heinrichsdid a study on whether children could determine the original source ofdifferent sounds being made by different instruments in different instrumentfamilies, and different instruments that were in the same family ofinstruments.
In 1994, Pick et al asking 107 children ages three to seven yearsof age to watch a video to watch two different musicians playing two differentinstruments while also playing a soundtrack of one of the instruments beingplayed, was played. The results that they gathered from this was that childrenaround the ages of three to four were able to tell the difference between thefamilies of music, but not the instruments that were in that same family ofmusic. Children between the ages of five and seven were able to tell thedifference between the different types of instruments and were even able totell the difference between instruments that were in a musical family by theirpitch and size. In a second group study done by Pick e al in 1994, sheshowed that infants between the ages of seven and nine months, when showed thesame video, and listened to the same soundtrack, they were more focused, andkept their gaze longer on the instrument that the soundtrack was playing. Whatis to be taken from these findings is that hearing and seeing musicalinstruments performed over the first few years that a child is alive caninfluence what children can know about different types of instruments, theirsound, and their families. The evidence that was found regarding youngerinfants shows that experience is sometimes not required. There are claims that when a child is listening to Mozartthat it will make the child smarter. This should be looked at with a lot ofskepticism.
The original study was done by Shaw, Ky, and Rauscher in 1993 inregards to the “Mozart Effect.” In this study, they used college students andhad them work on a very limited assignment. The effort in generalizing theseresults to children of a younger age is not proven.
These researchers did morestudies on the “Mozart Effect” and they found that there was not any real hardevidence that could support that listening to Mozart music could improvecognitive development. Even for college students. Low and McKelvie,!!! in 2002, did an experiment where studentsbetween the ages of eleven and thirteen were given spatial tasks to completeafter listening to a sonata from Mozart.
The findings that they found failed toback up Ky, Shaw, and Rauscher’s idea of finding an increase of spatialintelligence after listening to Mozart. After this failure, McKelvie and Lowdid a separate experience that used music similar to Mozart as a stimulus of relaxationto compare Mozart’s music. This music had almost the same exact structure andtempo. Both of these experiments failed to back up the claim that being in aplace that has Mozart music playing in it did not have the ability tostrengthen “spatial IQ” effectively. However, even though this research endedin failure, it does not mean that there is not any connection between cognitivedevelopment and music. To sum this up, even though this “Mozart Effect” is nowconsidered to not be a valid source of musical training, it does not mean thatmusic cannot have an effect on cognition at all.Musical Training influences development. How exactly,though? Even though there was failed attempt to dispute Mozart’s music helpspositively affect cognitive development and “spatial IQ”, there has been otherresearch that proves that musical training has, in fact, influenced manyaspects of early childhood development.
In music training, there are many skills that a person can learn whengiven the experience. They can also improve their brain development as well.There was an investigation that was done by Schlaug, Winner, Cronin, Lee, andNorton in 2005 on children ages five to seven. The subject of it was howtraining children musically could benefit, and influence the development oftheir brains. They had two groups of children in their study.
In one group,there were children who were given music lessons. In the second group ofchildren, they were not given any music lessons. They were the controlledgroup. In order to see the differences in their brain structures, each group underwentMRI’s. Not only did Norton do this, but he also studied the childrenindividually in each group and compared the children who were doing very wellin their musical abilities after being trained with instruments to the childrenwho did not do better with the musical training, and those in the group who didnot get any musical training at all. Norton compared the differences in motor,visual-spatial, and verbal skills from before the music lessons to post-musicallessons.
When they looked at the results, they saw that there were no relationshipswhen it came to visual or brain-spatial measures and music skills. What theydid find is that there was a relationship between phonemic awareness andnon-verbal reasoning, and music skills. One more example to really bring awareness to the importanceof music on development would be a study done by Schlaug, Winner, Norton,Evans, Lerch, Forgeard, and Hyde in 2009. In this study, they looked atchildren’s auditory brain structures who had many experiences in musicaltraining. This study consisted of two groups of children who were within the agesof five to seven years old and were taking part of many different musicalexperiences. In the first group, labeled instrumental group, there were fifteenchildren. They each got lessons on playing the keyboard for fifteen months.
Thesecond group, labeled as the control group, were not given lessons on how toplay the keyboard. Instead, they were placed in a music class that lasted fortyminutes each session and, occurred weekly. In this class, they played withbells, drums, and they sang. In comparison to those who were in the music classplaying with bells, drums, and singing, the children who were given the keyboardlessons were shown to have benefited numerously in many ways.
Three of these benefitsbeing skills in rhythmic discrimination, motor-finger dexterity, and auditorymelodic skills. In addition to these findings, MRI scans showed that there is arelationship to changes in the brain’s structure in the areas of auditory andmotor and tests on the subject of improvements behaviorally on auditory-musicaland motor. In this paper, the emphasis of how important music is in thelives of children, and how it helps develop skills such as perception, reading,language, and memory is very well explained through the different examplesgiven above. Of course, listening to sonatas written by and/or similar to Mozartmight not make a child a genius as they grow up, but what music CAN do is makesignificant changes to the structures of the brain, develop certain cognitiveand physical skills, and help with memory. It also goes to show that even at avery young age infants are able to distinguish between to instruments that makedifferent sounds with the aid of video and music.
Music is important in manyways and needs to be implemented all through life beginning at birth as it doeshave some helpful effects. They might not be dramatic effects, but they arevaluable effects.