A study of cognitive and behavioural transfer effects associated with children learning to play musical instruments for the first time over one academic year.

Dawn C. Rose, Alice Jones Bartoli, Pamela Heaton

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Abstract

Interest in studies investigating the indirect effect of music education, evaluated theoretically as ‘transfer effects’ (Barnett & Ceci, 2002) has been re-energised by the recent changes in policy that require musical provision to be justified (Branscombe, 2012). Here we take a holistic approach to musical learning, nesting neuro-psychological measures of near and far transfer within one battery of tests. The mixed design considered the multi-modal characteristics of musicality along a continuum assessing changes over time for behavioural visuo and psycho-motor skills and factors of both intelligence and memory in children in a pilot study. Participants (N=38) aged between 7-9 years were tested over a period of one UK academic year. Groups were assigned based on the amount of musical training they received. Results suggest an advantage for those participants taking music lessons over and above statutory provisions, particularly for hand/eye coordination and nonverbal reasoning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-70
JournalThe Psychology of Education Review
Volume39
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2015

Keywords

  • Music Education
  • Motor Abilities
  • Cognitive Abilities
  • Musical Aptitude
  • Transfer Effects
  • Learning
  • Memory

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