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Child Psychology. “Music Lessons Enhance IQ” by Schellenberg Essay

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Updated: Dec 15th, 2021

Schellenberg (2004) discusses the impact of music lessons on the IQ indicators in his article “Music Lessons Enhance IQ” and proves its significant correlation on the practical experiment held with the total number of 144 6-year-old children. The initial thesis of the author is the proposed correlation between systematic attendance of music lessons and temporary increase of IQ performance. According to his opinion, music and intelligence are directly connected – the author argues that it is a commonly known fact, analyzing the so-called “Mozart effect” that has found its scientific proof long ago and showed the temporary IQ rise in the children who listened to Mozart’s music. Thus, the author goes further in the studies of music-intellect connections and offers a study that would discover more connections between music and “benefits that extend to non-musical areas” (Schellenberg, 2004).

The sample for the experiment was selected according to several criteria with the help of an advertisement that spoke about music lessons that would last for a year. Parents were instructed about the experiment, and the age of six was chosen because of the peculiarities of children’s psychology and level of development. Thus, the group of 144 children was divided into four focus groups (Schellenberg, 2004). Two of them were given music classes every week, one group received drama classes and one of them did not receive any lessons. The tools used for results assessment were the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Third Edition, the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement, and the Parent Rating Scale of the Behavioral Assessment System for Children (Schellenberg, 2004). The IQ level was tested right before the music lessons and after them.

The results and statistical findings summarized after the experiment’s completion showed a considerable increase in IQ both after drama classes and after music classes, with the music still prevailing in the positive effect on intelligence:

“Compared with the control groups, the music groups had reliably larger increases in full-scale IQ, t(130)51.99, p <.05. The size of the effect (d50.35) was midway between effects considered small (0.2) and medium (0.5) by Cohen (1988). Children in the control groups had an average increase in IQ of 4.3 points (SD57.3), whereas the music groups had an average increase of 7.0 points (SD58.6)” (Schellenberg, 2004, p. 512-513).

Discussing the results of the experiment, it is important to note that the overall positive results of music lessons are not significant, but in comparison with no positive results in the conditions of no lessons of drama and musical character they show the substantial significance for designing the children’s up-bringing process at the age of 6. Drama lessons also showed an increase in the IQ level of participants, which was also positive for children, but they also gave the considerable increase in the adaptive social behavior, which constitutes a truly profound finding in the sphere of childhood psychology. The explanation to the connection of music and intelligence is found in the blended effect of instruction and pleasure in such extracurricular activities as music and drama. They are considered to develop not only literacy and numeracy skills as presupposed by formal education, but to have a supplementary effect on the development of critical thinking and reasoning, though the specificity of artistic thinking still prevails.

References

Schellenberg, E.G. (2004). Music Lessons Enhance IQ. American Psychological Society, Vol. 15, No. 8, pp. 511-514.

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IvyPanda. "Child Psychology. “Music Lessons Enhance IQ” by Schellenberg." December 15, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/child-psychology-music-lessons-enhance-iq-by-schellenberg/.

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