As children around the world head back to the classroom, we wanted to share some key research from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Ontario, Canada about the benefits of music education. According to their research, learning to sing “…leads to changes in a child’s brain that make it more likely they will reach their full cognitive and academic potential.” Here are their top 5 benefits of music education:
- Speech & Reading: young children taking music lessons showed dramatic improvement in their verbal intelligence after only four weeks of music training. ₁
- Academic Success: elementary school students in music education programs had 20% improvement in standardized tests of English and Math. ₂
- IQ: researchers showed greater increases in full scale IQ scores among children in music lessons versus children with no extra lessons. ₃
- Working Memory: individuals who are musically trained show better working memory abilities than those who are not. ₄
- Creativity: scientists found a marked a significant difference in communication between the right and left sides of the brain, which foster creativity, in individuals with musical training than in those without.₅
In addition to our focus on cultural bridge-building and musical excellence, The Denver Children’s Choir’s focus on music education is central to our mission.
Annually, the DCC’s Neighborhood Choir Program serves over 200 children, ages 7-18, through 16 different choir ensemble programs around the Denver metro area. Our core training choirs are available at three neighborhood locations in addition to 7 in-school choir programs at 5 DPS schools, 4 choirs during school hours and 3 choirs before school to better accommodate our low-income participants, who get dropped off early for free breakfast. Many of our singers would not have access to a formal music education without DCC’s community choir programming.
Participants rehearse weekly to develop musicianship skills such as reading music and harmonizing, develop social skills like leadership and teamwork, and learn a culturally diverse repertoire. Our fall semester culminates with multiple concerts involving all of our singers. For our spring concert, Harmony of Children, all of our singers will perform on one stage together. Throughout the year, our singers will collaborate with local artists. Singers are given the opportunity to learn music with children from all over Denver, engage with one another, grow from differences, express their true selves, and find inner joy. Our music programming emphasizes artistic excellence, skill development, a variety of cultural perspectives.
One of our singers says it best: “I am so grateful to be a part of this community. Everyone is so supportive, and I love having friends that are so different who go to different schools that I wouldn’t know without choir.”
And, according to Albert Einstein: “The theory of relativity occurred to me by intuition, and music is the driving force behind this intuition. My parents had me study the violin from the time I was six. My new discovery is the result of musical perception.”
- Sylvain Moreno et al, Musical Training Influences Linguistic Abilities in Eight-year-old Children: More Evidence for Brain Plasticity, Cerebral Cortex, (Volume 19, Issue 3, 2009)
- C.M. Johnson and J.E. Memmott, Examination of Relationships between Participants in School Music Programs of Differing Quality and Standardized Test Results, Journal of Research in Music Education (Winter 2006, Volume 54, Number 4)
- E. Glenn Schellenberg, Music Lessons Enhance IQ (Psychological Science, 15)
- E.M. George, D. Coch, Music training and working memory: An ERP study, J. Neuropsychologia, Vol. 49, issue 5, April 2011
- Gottfried Schlaug, The Brain of Musicians – A Model for Functional and Structural Adaptation