What's new in pedagogy research?Does the study of music really make people smarter? Are they better in math? Are they stronger in languages? This has been a hot topic in research and general conversation for the past decade, with various studies suggesting contradictory answers. A new study by Eugenia Costa-Giomi, titled "Effects of Three Years of Piano Instruction on Children's Academic Achievement, School Performance and Self-Esteem self-esteem
Sense of personal worth and ability that is fundamental to an individual's identity. Family relationships during childhood are believed to play a crucial role in its development. ," (1) investigates these questions.
This experiment involved 117 fourth-grade children enrolled in a school district in Montreal, Canada. These students had never participated in formal music instruction, did not have a piano and came from homes with a low family income and a high incidence of unemployment and single parents. Half the students were in a control group and did not receive piano lessons, but were tested at the end of each of the three years of the study. The other half received free piano lessons, and a free acoustic acoustic /acous·tic/ (ah-kldbomacs´tik) relating to sound or hearing.
a·cous·tic or a·cous·ti·cal
Of or relating to sound, the sense of hearing, or the perception of sound. piano was placed in each of their homes. During the study a third group developed, consisting of those who were given lessons but dropped out of the program. All the children were given a battery of tests before the program began. These included standardized tests A standardized test is a test administered and scored in a standard manner. The tests are designed in such a way that the "questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent"  for language, mathematics, self-esteem, musical aptitude, fine motor skills The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
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“Dexterity” redirects here. For other uses, see Dexterity (disambiguation). and developing cognitive abilities. The results of these tests showed the two groups were equal in all areas. The children were retested with appropriate levels of tests at the end of the first, second and third years of the study. The researcher also had access to the students' report cards from the year prior to the study (third grade) to the end of the study (sixth grade) to evaluate overall school performance.
The results of the testing indicated the piano lessons had a significant benefit for self-esteem and school grades for music courses, but did not affect their test results or school grades for math or language. Costa-Giomi speculates that the positive benefit for self-esteem might have been the result of the individual attention from the experienced piano teacher, possibly some attention to practice in the home, the opportunities to perform in recitals in front of their peers and relatives and the experience of developing their musical interests and abilities. The positive effect of the piano instruction was not influenced by the child's sex, parental employment or family income and structure. Costa-Giomi writes:
The results of the study question the existence of a causal relationship between formal music instruction and academic achievement as instruction did not affect children's academic achievement in language and math as measured by standardized tests. No differences were found between the test scores of children taking the piano lessons and those who never participated in formal music instruction. (2)
And so, a few more coals are added in the fire of dais controversy. The ongoing debate boils Boils Definition
Boils and carbuncles are bacterial infections of hair follicles and surrounding skin that form pustules (small blister-like swellings containing pus) around the follicle. Boils are sometimes called furuncles. down to a question of correlation versus causality causality, in philosophy, the relationship between cause and effect. A distinction is often made between a cause that produces something new (e.g., a moth from a caterpillar) and one that produces a change in an existing substance (e.g. . Does music make children smarter, or do smart kids like to play music? In my years as an independent and university music teacher, I would have to say the students who stuck with it and played well also did well in their academic endeavors. Was that because studying music was making them smarter, or was it because they were smart to begin with, were self-motivated and had parents at home encouraging them to excel in all areas of their lives? This question can be seen as a rather esoteric es·o·ter·ic
a. Intended for or understood by only a particular group: an esoteric cult. See Synonyms at mysterious.
b. morsel mor·sel
1. A small piece of food.
2. A tasty delicacy; a tidbit.
3. A small amount; a piece: a morsel of gossip.
4. to nibble Half a byte (four bits).
(data) nibble - /nib'l/ (US "nybble", by analogy with "bite" -> "byte") Half a byte. Since a byte is nearly always eight bits, a nibble is nearly always four bits (and can therefore be represented by one hex digit). on at our leisure, unless we are using the possibly false claim that music makes kids smarter to advocate public funding Public funding is money given from tax revenue or other governmental sources to an individual, organization, or entity. See also
(1.) Costa-Giomi, Eugenia. "Effects of Three Years of Piano Instruction on Children's Academic Achievement, School Performance and Self-Esteem." Psychology of Music, 32 (2), (2004): 139-152.
(2.) Ibid., 149.
Rebecca Grooms Johnson is the director of keyboard pedagogy at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio Columbus is the capital and the largest city of the American state of Ohio. Named for explorer Christopher Columbus, the city was founded in 1812 at the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and assumed the functions of state capital in 1816. . She is an experienced independent piano teacher and a past president of the Ohio MTA (1) (Message Transfer Agent or Mail Transfer Agent) The store and forward part of a messaging system. See messaging system.
(2) See M Technology Association.
1. (messaging) MTA - Message Transfer Agent. . Johnson holds a Ph.D. degree in piano pedagogy.