The Keys to Higher Learning --
The Piano, Music & Improving Test Scores
Music Beats Computers at Enhancing Early Childhood Development
Irvine, CA -- A research team exploring the link between music and intelligence reports that music
training -- specifically piano instruction -- is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically
enhancing children's abstract reasoning skills necessary for learning math and science.

The new findings, published in the February 1997 issue of Neurological Research, are the result of
a two-year experiment with preschoolers, led by psychologist Dr. Frances Rauscher of the
University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh and physicist Dr. Gordon Shaw of the University of California at Irvine.  As a follow-up to their groundbreaking studies indicating how music can enhance
spatial-reasoning ability, the researchers set out to compare the effects of musical and nonmusical
training on intellectual development.

The experiment included three groups of preschoolers: one group received private piano/keyboard
lessons; a second group received private computer lessons; and a third group received no training.
Those children who received piano/keyboard training performed 34% higher on test
measuring spatial-temporal ability than the others. These findings indicate that music uniquely
enhances higher brain functions required for mathematics, chess, science, and engineering.  The
implications of this and future studies can change the way educators view the core school curricula,
particularly since musicmaking nurtures the intellect and produces long-term improvements.   "It has
been clearly documented that young students have difficulty understanding the concepts of
proportion (heavily used in math and science) and that no successful program has been developed to
teach these concepts in the school system," stated Dr. Rauscher.  "The high proportion of children
who evidenced dramatic improvement in spatial-temporal reasoning as a result of music training
should be of great interest to scientists and educators," added Dr. Shaw.

Results Reinforce Causal Link Between Music and Intelligence

The research is based on some remarkable studies that have recently begun pouring out of
neuroscience laboratories throughout the country.  These studies show that early experiences
determine which brain cells (neurons) will connect with other brain cells, and which ones will die
away.  Because neural connections are responsible for all types of intelligence, a child's brain
develops to its full potential only with exposure to the necessary enriching experiences in early
childhood.  What Drs. Rauscher and Shaw have emphasized has been the causal relationship
between early music training and the development of the neural circuitry that governs spatial
intelligence.  Their studies indicate that music training generates the neural connections used for
abstract reasoning, including those necessary for understanding mathematical concepts.

Specifically, earlier studied led by Drs. Rauscher and Shaw reported a causal relationship between
music training and spatial-temporal ability enhancement in preschoolers (1994), and among college
students who simply listened to a Mozart sonata (1993, 1995).  references to these and other
findings related to music research conducted worldwide are available at the Music and Science
Information Computer Archive (MuSICA) at the University of California, Irvine.  For more
information access MuSICA on the World Wide Web at
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