A new study in the journal Social Science Quarterly reveals that music participation, defined as music lessons taken in or out of school and parents attending concerts with their children, has a positive effect on reading and mathematic achievement in early childhood and adolescence. Additionally, socioeconomic status and ethnicity affect music participation.
Darby E. Southgate, MA, and Vincent Roscigno, Ph.D., of The Ohio State University reviewed two nationally representative data sources to analyze patterns of music involvement and possible effects on math and reading performance for both elementary and high school students.
Music is positively associated with academic achievement, especially during the high school years.
However, not all adolescents participate in music equally, and certain groups are disadvantaged in access to music education. Families with high socioeconomic status participate more in music than do families with lower socioeconomic status. In addition to social class as a predictor of music participation, ethnicity is also a factor. Asians and Whites are more likely to participate in music than are Hispanics. While young Black children attended concerts with their parents, they were less likely to take music lessons.
“This topic becomes an issue of equity at both the family and school levels,” the authors conclude. “This has major policy implications for federal, state, and local agencies, as well as knowledge that can help families allocate resources that are most beneficial to children.”
- Southgate et al. The Impact of Music on Childhood and Adolescent Achievement. Social Science Quarterly, 2009; 90 (1): 4 DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2009.00598.x
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