Continuing our Music is Good for You #WednesdayWisdom series, this week we’re taking a look at how learning music can improve your maths and science skills.
Having show the link with language skills, memory, and empathy you may think the sciences a bit of a leap. However, if you think about it logically (see what we did there?) musical notes, chords, octaves, rhythm, and meter can all be understood mathematically. You only have to listen to Bach to hear the mathematical progression in his music to get an idea of how much maths is in music let alone get into 3rds and 5ths.
The research on whether music definitely improves maths and science ability is mixed at the moment, but there does seem to be an underlying correlation between playing an instrument and better maths skills.
For instance, a recent study found that preschoolers who got keyboard lessons performed better on a test of spatial-temporal reasoning (the ability to mentally envision spatial patterns and understand how they fit together) than children who received computer instruction or the control group who didn’t participate in either activity. Researchers believe that elevated spatial-temporal reasoning leads to better performance in both maths and science.
A lot of our Music is good for you #WednesdayWisdom posts have shown how playing an instrument is especially good for children. This week’s post is one for the older musicians as we’ve looking at brain ageing.
The good news for the more mature musician is that the cognitive gains made from playing an instrument don’t seem to wane as you age.
Studies have shown that those speech-processing and memory benefits extend well into your golden years. However, the better news is that you’ll retain those benefits even if your musical training stopped after childhood.
A new Canadian study found that older people who had musical training when they were young could identify speech 20% faster than those with no training. In another study, people aged 60 to 83 who’d studied music for at least 10 years remembered more sensory information, including auditory, visual, and tactile data, than those who’d studied for one to nine years. Both groups scored higher than people who’d never learned an instrument.
We’re continuing our weekly #WednesdayWisdom series on how music is beneficial to you with part five: Music promotes empathy
Musical training doesn’t just improve your brain’s sound-processing centres; it also increases its capacity to detect emotions in sound.
The consequence of this is that musicians can be better at reading subtle emotional cues in conversation. This, in turn, equips them for more emotionally rich relationships.
Learning music also bodes well for helping children with emotional-perception problems, such as autism. Proving yet again that music is really for everyone!