As children throughout New York begin the school year and our own Fall 2012 semester gets underway at Bloomingdale, a recent article citing the long term benefits of Music Education in the New York Times seems quite timely. Any music student, parent, or educator knows the joy music can bring into a child's life. And there have, of course, been many quantitative studies pointing to associations with music and math or music and language. Parents and teachers, more than anyone, also know the struggles that students can undertake with practicing and the efforts it can take to keep a child motivated. Now, a recent study by researchers at Northwestern University indicates that music lessons for any period of time have long lasting effects on a person's lifelong learning.
A smaller study on the benefits of Early Childhood Education was cited recently in a Wall Street Journal article. The Canadian study focused on the increased musical response of infants who had the benefit of early exposure to music through classes. Though the study involved a relatively small population (especially compared to the Northwestern study above) the results indicated that 12 month olds exposed to music classes as early as 6 months had a noticeable brain response when listening to western music. Music also appeared to have a calming affect on babies who were exposed to it on a regular basis.
At Bloomingdale we see the results of our work every day. But its always exciting to have the importance and long-term reach of that work backed up through scientific research!