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Updated 10 September 2013

Making music can boost kids' development

Making music can boost children's helpfulness, co-operation and problem-solving skills, according to a small new study.

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Making music can boost children's helpfulness, co-operation and problem-solving skills, according to a small new study.

The study included 4-year-old children (24 girls, 24 boys) who were randomly assigned into music or no-music groups. The music group sang and played a percussion instrument while those in the no-music group listened to a story.

Children in both groups then played games meant to assess their helpfulness and problem-solving abilities. Compared to those in the no-music group, those in the music group were over 30 times more likely to help others, more than six times more likely to co-operate with others and four times more likely to problem solve.

Among children in the music group, girls were 20 times more likely to be helpful than boys and also more likely to co-operate with others, according to the UK researchers.

The study findings will be presented Friday at a British Psychological Society conference in Reading, England. The data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

"This study provides support for prior research... and also highlights the need for schools and parents to understand the important role music making has in children's lives in terms of social bonding and helping behaviours," study author Rie Davies, an undergraduate student in the School of Psychology at the University of West London, said in a British Psychological Society news release.

"Music making in class, particularly singing, may encourage pupils with learning differences and emotional difficulties to feel less alienated in the school environment," Davies added.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about music and your school-aged child.

(Picture: boy playing violin from Shutterstock)

 
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