BOSTON, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Children who play a musical instrument for at least three years outperform children with no music training on verbal ability, U.S. researchers said.
The study, published online in the journal PLoS ONE, found that children who study a musical instrument for at least three years outperform children with no instrumental training -- not only in tests of auditory discrimination and finger dexterity, but on tests measuring verbal ability and visual pattern completion -- skills not normally associated with music.
Drs. Gottfried Schlaug and Ellen Winner of Harvard Medical School in Boston tracked 41 8-11-year-old children who had studied either piano or a string instrument for a minimum of three years and compared them to 18 children who had no instrumental training. Children in both groups spent 30-40 minutes per week in general music classes at school, but those in the instrumental group also received private lessons learning an instrument.
The researchers also found that the longer and more intensely the child had studied his or her instrument, the better he or she scored on these tests.