- On the 2012 SAT, students who participated in music scored an average of 31 points above average in reading, 23 points above average in math, and 31 points above average in writing.
College Board SAT, 2012 College-Bound Seniors: Total Group Profile Report. (See table 18.)
- Researchers have demonstrated a strong relationship between individuals who participated in school arts experiences and higher academic success as demonstrated by grade point averages, scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) and math and verbal portions of the SAT exam.
Kelly, S. N. (2012). Fine Arts-Related Instruction’s Influence on Academic Success.
- Students in high-quality school music programs score higher on standardized tests compared to students in schools with deficient music education programs, regardless of the socioeconomic level of the school or school district.
Johnson, C. M. & Memmott, J. E. (2007). Examination of relationships between participation in school music programs of differing quality and standardized test results. Journal of Research in Music Education, 54(4), 293-307.
- After assigning 144 children to keyboard lessons, voice lessons, drama lessons, or no lessons, researchers found that children in the music groups exhibited greater increases on an IQ test than students in the drama lessons or those without lessons.
Schellenberg, E. G. (2004). Music lessons enhance IQ. Psychological Science, 15(8), 511-514.
- An analysis of data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 demonstrated a significant correlation between participation in school music groups and achievement in math and English.
Broh, B. A. (2002). Linking extracurricular programming to academic achievement: Who benefits and why? Sociology of Education, 75(1), 69-95.
- First- graders who participated in special music classes as part of an arts study saw their reading skills and math proficiency increase dramatically.
Gardiner, M. F., Fox, A., Knowles, F., & Jeffrey, D. (1996). Learning improved by arts training. Nature, 381(6580), 284-284.
Does Music Really Affect Academic Achievement?
(NOTE – This section is meant to be informative. It is not recommended for advocacy purposes.)
- Elpus (2013) found that “music students did not outperform non-music students on the SAT once these systematic differences had been statistically controlled.” Elpus, K. (2013). Is it the music or is it selection bias? A nationwide analysis of music and non-music students’ SAT scores. Journal of Research in Music Education.
- Rickard, Bambrick and Gill (2012) did not find academic benefits for students of ages 10-13 who received increased time in classroom-based music classes.
Rickard, N.S., Bambrick, C.K., & Gill, A. (2012). Absence of widespread psychosocial and cognitive effects of school based music instruction in 10-13-year-old students. International Journal of Music Education, 30(1), 57-78.
- After analyzing longitudinal data from the Department of Education, the Southgate and Roscigno (2009). state, “This suggests to us that music is meaningful not as a predictor of achievement in and of itself, but rather as a mediator, to some degree, of family background and student status, thus supporting arguments and theorizing pertaining to cultural capital” (p. 17).
Southgate, D. E. & Roscigno, V. J. (2009). The impact of music on childhood adolescent achievement. Social Science Quarterly, 90 (1), 4-21.
- Kinney (2008) found that band student test score differences remained stable over time.
Kinney, D. W. (2008). Selected demographic variables, music participation, and achievement test scores of urban middle school students. Journal of Research in Music Education, 55(2), 145–61.
- Fitzpatrick’s (2006) research suggests that instrumental classes may simply attract students with higher test scores.
Fitzpatrick, K. R. (2006). The effect of instrumental music participation and socioeconomic status on Ohio fourth-, sixth-, and ninth-grade proficiency test performance. Journal of Research in Music Education, 54(1), 73–84.
- Costa-Giomi’s (2004) research revealed that while students from low-income households who studied piano exhibited increased self-esteem, their academic achievement in math and language did not improve.
Costa-Giomi, E. (2004). Effects of three years of piano instruction on children’s academic achievement, school performance and self-esteem. Psychology of Music, 32(2), 139-152.
- Schellenberg (2001) and Steele, Crook, & Bass (1999) have demonstrated or noted the failure of researchers to replicate the “Mozart effect.”