Music and Intelligence

kids playing instrumentsResearch has questioned if music can increase the intelligence of individuals. There was a study1 done on college students that found those students who listened to Mozart music before taking an exam, did better on their test than those that sat in silence or were read relaxation instructions. This “Mozart effect” was found to only last 15 minutes.

This study has been popularized by the idea that you can become smarter just by listening to Mozart. There are CDs for infants that claim they will make your infant smarter by letting them listen to it, though there has been no scientific evidence to prove this. There is evidence, however, that participation in music lessons does increase children’s intelligence.

A study1 placed six year olds into four groups. Each group was given either piano lessons, voice lessons, drama lessons, or no lessons. Children in the music groups scored higher on the intelligence test by a few points at the end of 36 weeks. The drama group had the highest gains in social maturity. Another study2 found 9 year-olds who had been given the opportunity to play music with their classmates had higher scores in imagination and had closer relationships with their peers. Though these studies didn’t uncover some magic way to increase your child’s intelligence, they do highlight the extra benefits music experience can give your child, other than helping them develop a valuable talent.


For more information see:

1 Berk, Laura (2010). Infants, Children, and Adolescents, 7th ed. Boston, MA.

2 Passanisi, A., Di Nuovo, S., Urgese, L., & Pirrone, C. (2015). The influence of musical expression on creativity and interpersonal relationships in children. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 191, 2476-2480. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.04.308


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