Monday, December 1, 2008
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Strumming that guitar could help this little girl not only with dexterity, but also with brainy vocabulary tests. Credit: dreamstime
Check out the Latest Music Advocacy Studies
It is always important to advocate for the future of music education. Staying current with recent studies will help build a solid foundation of facts on which you can build your case. Please share this information with your students, band and orchestra parents, and school administrators. Do you know of other current research? Let us know!
Playing a Musical Instrument Helps Brain
Children Learning to Play a Musical Instrument Outperform Their Peers
Young Musicians Get Smarter, Study Suggests by Jeanna Bryner
ScienceDaily (Nov. 5, 2008) — A Harvard-based study has found that children who study a musical instrument for at least three years outperform children with no instrumental training—not only in tests of auditory discrimination and finger dexterity (skills honed by the study of a musical instrument), but also on tests measuring verbal ability and visual pattern completion (skills not normally associated with music). The study, published October 29 in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE, was led by Drs. Gottfried Schlaug and Ellen Winne. A total of 41 eight- to eleven-year-olds who had studied either piano or a string instrument for a minimum of three years were compared to 18 children who had no instrumental training. Children in both groups spent 30-40 minutes per week in general music classes at school, but those in the instrumental group also received private lessons learning an instrument (averaging 45 minutes per week) and spent additional time practicing at home.
Bernstein in Beijing: China's Classical Music Explosion by Jeffrey Kluger
Long Yu has come a long way since the day in 1976 when he accidentally killed a duck. The duck was going to die anyway, but not until it had been properly fattened up in the breeding factory where Long, then 12, was required to work in the waning days of China's Cultural Revolution. The ducks were force-fed through a tube operated by a foot-pedal — a single pump per meal. One day Long got careless and accidentally pumped twice. End of duck."Boys' minds wander sometimes," he says today. "Still, the factory bosses were very angry at me." Nobody in Chinese officialdom gets angry at Long anymore. The artistic director and chief conductor of the China Philharmonic Orchestra, Long spent this October the way he's spent all his recent Octobers, dashing from concert hall to concert hall around Beijing, joining the capacity crowds jamming into decidedly Chinese venues to hear some decidedly un-Chinese music: Puccini in the Forbidden City; Dido & Aeneas at the Beijing Concert Hall; Handl's Messiah at the Wang Fu Jing Church; Wagner's Tannhäuser at the downtown Poly Theater. People who order their tickets in advance get in; the rest get introduced to another Western tradition — scalpers, who buy in bulk and sell out fast. It's been that way every year since Long first launched the annual Beijing Music Festival (BMF) in 1998. And that, most people in the Chinese arts community believe, is nothing compared to the classical music explosion still to come.
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