A story recently run on the Harmony Project (See the story here) brought to light something that many parents know intrinsically – music is good for developing brains.
The Harmony Project is a research based music education program that targets inner city kids living in poverty. In these areas drop out rates are high (over 50%) and over 80% of kids do not read at grade level.
It’s well documented that children whose mothers have little education, are rarely being read to and verbal interaction is minimal. Scientists believe that this not only puts them behind in school but those children rarely catch up because their brains are not be developing as rapidly as the brains of more stimulated kids.
Early sustained music learning is actually the frame upon which education itself can be built for low-income kids.
According to Dr. Nina Kraus a neurobiologist at NorthwesternUniversity there’s a connection with sound and reading. When you’re learning to read you need to connect the sounds of words that you’ve heard for many years with the symbol on the page. So you’re making a sound to meaning connection.
Children with music training not only do better in reading but are able to distinguish speech from noise. Dr. Kraus says that they can document that kids who have had musical education now have nervous systems that respond more accurately and precisely to meaningful elements in language.
There have been a number of studies. And the language abilities seem to be strengthened by the music instruction more than the art. And so these language-based skills seem to profit from music instruction.