Culture 3 min read

Music Students Perform Better In School Than Their Non-Musical Peers

Free-Photos / Pixabay

Free-Photos / Pixabay

Music students do better in school than their non-musical peers.

The general misconception is that students who devote time to music instead of the regular disciplines such as English. Math and Science usually underperform in these subjects. So, when school administrators are looking to trim budgets, the music department always gets the axe.

However, a recent study suggests that this belief is wrong. In fact, the more a student engages in music, the better he or she performs at the said three subjects.

According to researchers at the University of British Columbia, students who picked up a musical instrument back in elementary school and played it through high school seemed to be one-year ahead of their non-musical peers.

Furthermore, the result remained consistent regardless of the students’ ethnicity, socioeconomic background, gender, and prior learning of the subjects.

Here is why.

Music Students Outperform Their Non-Musical Peers in Mathematics, English, and Science

For the research, UBC education professor and principal author of the study, Peter Gouzouasis, and his team analyzed data from all public school students in British Columbia. They narrowed the data sample down to about 112,000 students who finished Grade 12 between 2012 and 2015.

To be part of the data sample, a student must have the appropriate demographic information and must have completed at least one standardized exam for Math, English, or Science.

Also, students who took at least one instrumental music course in the regular curriculum counted as music students. The qualifying course includes jazz band, concert choir, conservatory piano, orchestra, and concert band.

The researchers noted a relationship between music education and academic excellence. It seemed that the student transferred the skills they acquired while learning instrumental music to their learning in school.

Speaking on the project, assistant professor in UBC’s school of population and public health, Martin Guhn, said:

“Learning to play a musical instrument and playing in an ensemble is very demanding. A student has to learn to read music notation, develop eye-hand-mind coordination, develop keen listening skills, develop team skills for playing in an ensemble, and develop the discipline to practice.”

As a result of these numerous learning experiences, the learners developed an enhanced cognitive capacity, executive functions, and self-efficacy. Also, their motivation to learn in school increased.

Over the years, many schools have focused more on numeracy and literacy at the cost of other areas of learning, especially music. The findings of this study suggest that this is a terrible idea.

The irony is that music education can be the very thing that improves all-around academic achievement and an ideal way to have students learn more holistically in schools,” concluded Gouzouasis.

Read More: New Study: Listening To Music Significantly Impairs Creativity

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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