Parents take heart. If weekly music lessons show no sign of turning your kid into a young Leonard Bernstein, They could be stoking the talents of a future Marie Curie or Galileo.



Just 15 minutes a week of private keyboard instruction, along with group singing at pre-school, dramatically improved a kind of intelligence needed for high-level math and science, suggests a new study.

Music lessons appear to strengthen the links between brain neurons and build new spatial reasoning, says psychologist Frances Rauscher of University of California-Irvine.

"Music instruction can improve a child's spatial intelligence for long periods of time - perhaps permanently, " Rauscher told the American Psychological Association meeting here.

Her study compared 19 pre-schoolers who took the lessons and 14 classmates enrolled in no special music programs. After eight months, she found:

  • A 46% boost in spatial IQ's for the young musicians
  • 6% improvement for children not taught music.

"If parents can't afford lessons, they should at least buy a musical keyboard.... or sing regularly with their kids and involve them in musical activities," Rauscher says.

She's next going to test grade-schoolers. "If we can show it enhances spatial IQ in primary kids, this is a very powerful method to assure that every child reaches his or her potential in math and science," Rauscher says.


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