Your kiddo is scheduled to the max. Between soccer, softball, ice skating, swimming, tennis, ballet and art classes, they’re BUSY. But wait—even though sports can build motor skills and art can up your crafty kids creativity, too. A new study says that piano is linked to childhood development too. Oh, but not in the way that you might think.
Yes, piano lessons can bring out the creative problem-solver side of your kiddo. But it may also help them to learn about language too. Recent research from MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research looked at how practicing piano can help young children build language-processing skills.
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The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, included 74 Mandarin-speaking preschoolers, ages 4 to 5 years old. The children were assigned to one of three groups—piano training, reading training or nothing (the latter being the control group).
Researchers found that the children who took piano lessons for six months increased word discrimination skills in general along with vowel-based word discrimination. Likewise, the reading training group also improved these abilities. But the piano lesson group also improved in constant-based word discrimination, while the reading and control groups didn’t.
So what does this mean? The study showed that Mandarin-speaking children who take piano lessons may be better able to pick out the differences between consonants than kids who don’t take piano lessons. If you’re wondering whether this research translates into English-speaking benefits, it might. Further study is still needed. But really, with all the musical fun that piano lessons bring, why not sign your mini Mozart up for lessons?
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