Music training can improve your child's attention and memory: Study

PHOTO: The Straits Times file

Music has been found to have many benefits for child development and experts continue to find more advantages of musical training for children. Recently it’s been discovered that music training greatly improves your child’s attention, focus control and memory.

A new study published on Oct 8, 2020 found that musically trained children have better memory and concentration compared to kids without musical training. 

Comparing musically trained children and control children

Dr Leonie Kausel and his team examined 40 children aged between 10 to 13. Half of the children had the experience of playing an instrument such as violin, flute, saxophone and more for at least two years.

They practised their instruments two hours a week and would regularly perform in an orchestra or ensemble. For the other half, they got 20 control children from public schools who had no additional musical training aside from classes provided in the school curriculum.

They compared the attention and working memory of each group by asking them to participate in an auditory and visual stimuli test that had a visual abstract figure with a short melody which was presented for four seconds.

The children were asked to focus on just the visual, just the auditory, or both at the same time. 

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Afterwards, they were given a memory task to let the researchers know where their attention was directed. Researchers also took note of the children’s accuracy of responses and reaction time. 

While they found there was no difference in reaction between the two groups, the results showed that the kids with musical training did better on the memory task. 

“This result shows that even though participants were instructed to pay attention only to the visual stimuli in this condition, musically trained children were still able to encode and remember the auditory stimuli that were presented during the encoding phase far better than control children,” researchers say.

Musically trained children have significantly better memory

The study found that children with musical training did better in the given tasks involving visual and auditory memory retrieval.

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Researchers say that musically trained kids have a better time in activating their attention and memory skills due to music reading and their regular playing in an orchestra.

This additional training helps children improve their memory through practising and overall improving their performance while in an ensemble.

As a result, the research suggests that playing an instrument helps children boost their cognitive skills and improve their memory capacity for both auditory and visual stimuli. 

The authors of the study also hope that their findings might help children with attentional problems and could improve them through musical training if desired. 

This article was first published in theAsianparent.