Musical Training enhances language skills

cropped-waldorf_6-4-15_0470.jpgWe have written previously (here, here and here) about the benefits of music education, and pointed out the rich music education program at the Waldorf School of Baltimore. As in other blog posts here, when discussing potential benefits of Waldorf Education we have strived to limit our description to studies that are well controlled, scientifically sound, and whose conclusions are supported by the findings. Dr. Nina Kraus, a groundbreaking neuroscientist at Northwestern University, has been studying the effects of music training on brain development—with the use of non-invasive approaches in humans—and on the development of language skills. For example, she studied brain activity and speech in a group of teenagers before, and three years after they entered high-school, and found music training in school significantly improved the auditory processing of phenomes (speech sounds) and had lasting effects on language skills.

It is likely that music education that begins earlier than high school, and that last more than three years—as is common in Waldorf Education—results in even greater benefits.

Dr. Kraus recently published a review of her work, and her work was highlighted in an NPR educational feature, as part of their excellent How Learning Happens series.

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