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Music Helps Boost IQ

A journal published in the May issue of the Journal of Educational Psychology reports that Organized music lessons hone children's IQ and academic performance--and the longer the instruction continues, the larger the impact.

Lead researcher Dr. E. Glenn Schellenberg, University of Toronto at Mississauga says the recent study builds on the work he published in 2004, in which 6-year-olds who received music lessons for over a year. IQ was measured with standard tests before and after training. The effect was small, with a rise of just 7 IQ points for the keyboard and voice groups, compared with 4 in the drama and control groups.

The so called Mozart effect (sonata K448) refers to the finding that passive listening to Mozart pieces temporarily ameliorates spatial abilities. Researchers propose that a 10 min, listening to Mozart arouses positive moods, accounting for the mentioned improved performance.

However it is important to remember that Mozart effect is not a wonder drug. It just improves your overall cognitive arousal and concentration. If you are looking to utilize music as a way to boost IQ long-term, it is important to learn to play an instrument. Music researcher Donald Hodges says scans of the brain (while actively playing music) show both hemispheres (i.e. left & right sides of the brain) lighting up "like a pinball machine".

Fact file:

  • One study found students with music training scored 52 points higher on the verbal portion and 37 points higher on the math portion of the "old" SAT than students with no such training
  • Another study found learning music at an early age leads to long term gains in math and science reasoning skills
  • The Mozart Effect: listening to a Mozart sonata (or other complex music) can temporarily increase IQ by 8 to 9 points

How Music helps?

Presumably, music lessons would increase musical aptitude, as well as the nonmusical abilities associated with aptitude. Indeed, research unravels that music lessons have positive associations with verbal memory spatial ability, reading ability, selective attention and mathematics achievement. Music learning involve extended periods of rapt attention, dedicated daily practice, reading musical notation, memorization of long musical passages, learning about a variety of musical structures (e.g, intervals, scales, chords, chord progressions) and progressive mastery of technical (i.e. fine-motor) skills and precision in expression of emotions in performance.

Range of Music Aficionados

Several researches concur that music lessons improves the IQ. This positive impact on cognition, is remarkably distinct, particularly during the childhood years, when brain development is highly tensile and sensitive to environmental influence.

A new study found that taking music lessons in childhood was a significant predictor of a higher IQ in early adulthood. For the newbie adults, the study found a positive association between music lessons and higher school grades and higher scores on achievement testing in mathematics, spelling and reading. As for the college freshmen, a history of playing music regularly as children and teenagers had " little but significant " associations with IQ, perceptual organization, working memory and average high school grades, with the associations remaining significant after controlling for differences in family income, parent's education levels and gender

Sound Matters

Jill Mattson in her upcoming book throws light on the power of sounds. According to Mattson "Listening to special sounds is a sure fire way to boost your intellectual capacities". She reports that, intellectual abilities, a function of frequency of his or her brain, keep fluctuating several times during a day. "Some brain wave frequencies can boost people's academic capacities," she said. "The good news is that specific sounds hold the power to alter people's brain waves, enabling us to access our peak intellectual performance whenever we want to."

Thus in sum, it can be summarized that the right kind of music wields positive influence on moods and connects with our sense chords and elevates are cognitive faculty, thus boosting IQ. But taking music lessons has is more effective than just letting music soothe your ears.

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