Event Title

Stimulate Cognitive Abilities by Music to Avoid Academic Failure: A French Experiment

Start Date

1-6-2011 11:00 AM

End Date

1-6-2011 11:30 AM

Description

The idea that “music makes you smarter” and promotes both cognitive skills as well as verbal skills (Ho et al., 2003; Forgeard and al. 2000), spatiotemporal capacities (Rauscher and Zupan 2000), school performances (Wetter et al. 2009) or even boosts the IQ (Schellenberg, 2004, 2006) has received attention from researchers and general public. In this study we examined the effects of music practice on pre-school and school performance of kindergarten children, in particular concerning early writing skills. Here, one main question is investigated: what are the benefits of a specific music program in the curriculum for the cognitive abilities development on preschooler children (age 5)? Sample: A total of 487 children (49.6% male) from 30 public kindergartens participated to the study. At the beginning of the experiment (January 2010). The sample is divided into two groups randomly assigned: 226 of them received an extra classroom music lessons. The 261 children of the control group didn’t receive any special music training. Testing: We measured all children’s cognitive skills with existing cognitive tests battery: “NBA” (Ravard and Rabreau, 2005). The tests of cognitive capacities measure five dimensions: graphomotor skills, memory, spatial orientation, rhythmic organization and visual discrimination. Two series of tests were already realised: a “pre-test” (NBA1) at the beginning of the experiment and the “intermediate test” (NBA2) at the end of the experiment. The “final test” (NBA4) will be administered when the children will enter first year of primary school. Procedures: After children were pretested (NBA1), musical activities began in January 2010 and finished in June 2010. The program of the musical activities used for this experiment arises from "Music to the everyday life in the cycle 2”. It declines on five domains: singing, listening, instrumental activities, coding-decoding, rhythmic and physical activities. It was administered to each of the experimental classes through 2 hours lessons per week, generally 30 minutes a day. The control group did not participate in any program. After six months, all the children were tested (intermediate tests). A questionnaire was administered to collect socio-economic and school information; in particular parental occupation, mother tongue, nationality of the child, musical activity outside school. These variables were included to test for heterogeneity bias in cognitive performance of preschooler. Main findings: We used linear regression and difference in differences (DD) analysis to investigate the effects of the experimentation on cognitive skills of children. Linear regression shows that after six months of learning music, children of the experimental group exhibited substantially greater performance in musical skills. It attests that the experimental musical program has been correctly implemented. With DD analysis, we explore the differential impact of the music intervention on the cognitive skills. We control for parental occupation, country of birth of the child, musical activity outside school... We find that musical training has an impact on the graphomotor skills and rhythmic organization, students in the experimental group had better scores than students in the control group, this difference is statistically significant.

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Jun 1st, 11:00 AM Jun 1st, 11:30 AM

Stimulate Cognitive Abilities by Music to Avoid Academic Failure: A French Experiment

The idea that “music makes you smarter” and promotes both cognitive skills as well as verbal skills (Ho et al., 2003; Forgeard and al. 2000), spatiotemporal capacities (Rauscher and Zupan 2000), school performances (Wetter et al. 2009) or even boosts the IQ (Schellenberg, 2004, 2006) has received attention from researchers and general public. In this study we examined the effects of music practice on pre-school and school performance of kindergarten children, in particular concerning early writing skills. Here, one main question is investigated: what are the benefits of a specific music program in the curriculum for the cognitive abilities development on preschooler children (age 5)? Sample: A total of 487 children (49.6% male) from 30 public kindergartens participated to the study. At the beginning of the experiment (January 2010). The sample is divided into two groups randomly assigned: 226 of them received an extra classroom music lessons. The 261 children of the control group didn’t receive any special music training. Testing: We measured all children’s cognitive skills with existing cognitive tests battery: “NBA” (Ravard and Rabreau, 2005). The tests of cognitive capacities measure five dimensions: graphomotor skills, memory, spatial orientation, rhythmic organization and visual discrimination. Two series of tests were already realised: a “pre-test” (NBA1) at the beginning of the experiment and the “intermediate test” (NBA2) at the end of the experiment. The “final test” (NBA4) will be administered when the children will enter first year of primary school. Procedures: After children were pretested (NBA1), musical activities began in January 2010 and finished in June 2010. The program of the musical activities used for this experiment arises from "Music to the everyday life in the cycle 2”. It declines on five domains: singing, listening, instrumental activities, coding-decoding, rhythmic and physical activities. It was administered to each of the experimental classes through 2 hours lessons per week, generally 30 minutes a day. The control group did not participate in any program. After six months, all the children were tested (intermediate tests). A questionnaire was administered to collect socio-economic and school information; in particular parental occupation, mother tongue, nationality of the child, musical activity outside school. These variables were included to test for heterogeneity bias in cognitive performance of preschooler. Main findings: We used linear regression and difference in differences (DD) analysis to investigate the effects of the experimentation on cognitive skills of children. Linear regression shows that after six months of learning music, children of the experimental group exhibited substantially greater performance in musical skills. It attests that the experimental musical program has been correctly implemented. With DD analysis, we explore the differential impact of the music intervention on the cognitive skills. We control for parental occupation, country of birth of the child, musical activity outside school... We find that musical training has an impact on the graphomotor skills and rhythmic organization, students in the experimental group had better scores than students in the control group, this difference is statistically significant.