Does Music Make Kids Smarter?

Kathleen Kniskern will be marching in the 2019 Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade with St. Petersburg Second Time Arounders marching band

I remember sleeping to the dreamy-sounds of my father’s clarinet playing “Stardust”.  It was just… well, comfortable. Music was everywhere in my home, from my father’s Big Band Leader enthusiasm, my mother’s violin, hearing my grandfather’s greeting in Italian operetta by singing “anybody home?” just before the door slammed.  All five of us siblings received piano lessons from our mother.  Good music was all around us, and the passion for it, to me, was understood and yet unexplainable.

Let’s explore this question: “Does Music Make Kids Smarter?”

Here is a little test: Who said these statements?

“I get most joy out of my violin” and “I often think in music … I see my life in terms of music…I get most joy in life out of music” (answer at the end of article)

If we define smarter as higher IQ and test scores, specific studies have supported the kids =MusicC2 theory.  For example, a University of Toronto study has demonstrated that music has been shown to increase IQ nine points in 6-year-olds who took weekly singing or piano lessons.  Also, the College Entrance Exam Board conducted a survey which showed that SAT students who sang or played a musical instrument scored 51 points higher on verbal and 39 points higher on math college entrance exams.  And, a recent Stanford University study revealed a molecular basis for the “Mozart effect.”

How do I personally see music’s affect on life skills?  To me it’s easy. I see music keeping us focused in the here and now, and in a fervent almost passionate way.  The immediate feedback we receive when we make mistakes and the ability to make immediate corrections is a great skill to develop.  Confidence is raised along with one’s level of musicianship.  Stage or just plain living room performance for mom and dad = preparation for public speaking or just that extra ease in conversation.

Personally, music keeps a place of gladness in my being.

Here are some things that you can do to help music make a difference for your child:

Sing!  Hold your baby and allow him/her to feel the vibrations of joy through your chest.  Don’t worry about the quality of your voice, your happiness transcends. Your baby loves you!

Play good music and sing and dance to it with your child.  Or just listen.  Good music is everywhere and includes country, rock, jazz, big band, and, of course, classical.  Classical is always great, try the Baby Einstein products.  Finally, silence is good, too.  Give your baby time to absorb and take in just you and his/her surroundings.  Constant loud music in the car or anywhere can be traumatic and anxiety provoking to your baby. Just use your own good common sense.

Developing that ability, gift, passion or just planning old attraction for music is the key to allowing this musical experience to become and integrated , intrinsic part of your being. Who says that “music makes kids smarter?”  Well, I see it just about every day, and, you might just want to ask every “little musician’s” parent!

written by: Kathleen Kniskern, SDA

Answer to “who said this?”Albert Einstein