Strong correlations also were found between musical abilities in young children, particularly the ability to match vocal pitches and reproduce rhythmic patterns, and abstract reasoning abilities. These findings support the theories formulated by Gordon Shaw, Francis Rauscher and other researchers who have argued that early music instruction produces cognitive benefits in the area of spatial-temporal reasoning.
In addition to demonstrating the effect of early music instruction on cognitive development, the results of the study also underscore the importance of parental involvement in the intellectual formation of young children. Children who participated in the music activities with their parents at least 30 minutes a week scored significantly higher on both their intelligence and musical skills tests than the children who attended the Kindermusik classes but did not receive this level of parental assistance.
New research continues to provide support for the benefits of early music instruction. Regarding early musical abilities, researchers reported in the journal Developmental Psychology that “eight- to nine-month old infants learned to respond to melody changes in music. Their pattern of response was the same as adults, indicating that brain specializations for the processing of musical contour are present at a very early age.” Researchers at the University of Toronto have found similar results. Musica Research Notes observes, “Overall, it now seems clear that there is little distinction between infant-directed speech and song, that infants react to the prosodic and musical qualities of the two forms of verbal communication, and that the earliest of language lessons are in no sense merely linguistic. These conclusions support the view that the human comes ‘equipped’ with both language and music competencies.”Don Campbell, author of The Mozart Effect, adds that the more preschool children are exposed to music, the more their neurological development will be enhanced in such a way as to assist them throughout their lives. And Carla Hannaford, a well-known educator and author who earned her doctorate in the field of biology, also testifies: “Physiologically, touch, movement, rhythm and sound are the keystones to developing a healthy vestibular system and optimizing nervous system and brain growth. The importance of having families working together, where everyone benefits from the sense of belonging, gets directly at the heart of what we, as a society, are needing at this time to raise healthy, loving children and ensure a world of peace.