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1.  Associations between music education, intelligence, and spelling ability in elementary school 
Musical education has a beneficial effect on higher cognitive functions, but questions arise whether associations between music lessons and cognitive abilities are specific to a domain or general. We tested 194 boys in Grade 3 by measuring reading and spelling performance, non verbal intelligence and asked parents about musical activities since preschool. Questionnaire data showed that 53% of the boys had learned to play a musical instrument. Intelligence was higher for boys playing an instrument (p < .001). To control for unspecific effects we excluded families without instruments. The effect on intelligence remained (p < .05). Furthermore, boys playing an instrument showed better performance in spelling compared to the boys who were not playing, despite family members with instruments (p < .01). This effect was observed independently of IQ. Our findings suggest an association between music education and general cognitive ability as well as a specific language link.
PMCID: PMC3101523  PMID: 21614212
music education; intelligence; literacy; spelling; cognitive development

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