Music Instruction Improves Math Performance

From “An Intelligence View of Music Education,” Arthur Harvey, Leka Nu Hou (Hawaii), February 1997.

“The Council on Basic Education conducted a study comparing the amount of time spent on the arts by schools in Germany, Japan, England, and the United States, and found that not only did the U.S. trail the other countries in time devoted and percentage of time devoted to arts instruction, but that the U.S. trailed countries in math and science scores. “A study in Rhode Island published in the May 23, 1996 issue of Nature reported that first- graders who participated in special music classes as part of an arts study saw their reading skills and math proficiency increase dramatically. Students who studied music appreciation scored 46 points higher on the math portion of the SAT in 1995, and 39 points higher if they had music performance experiences, than those without music education.”

medieval tapestry with woman sitting at a table with counting pieces or money, reading a book which a man is holding for her, and surrounded by six other men. A dog is lying on the floor in front of the table

Hanging Depicting the Liberal Arts: the Arithmetic

It is clear that music instruction enhances cognitive performance in a number of areas, and math is simply one of them. The first example provides large-scale correlation evidence; the second provides direct evidence of the impact of music education on mathematical skills.

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