Approximately 90% of the brain’s motor control capabilities are devoted to the hands, mouth and throat. With this in mind, experts say that the fine dexterity involved with playing an instrument can exercise the entire brain and stimulate general intelligence.

Music is Beating Computers at Enhancing Early Childhood Development. Music training, specifically piano instruction, is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children’s abstract reasoning skills necessary for learning math and science. Learning music at an early age causes long-term enhancement of spatial-temporal reasoning.
— Source: Frances Rauscher, Ph.D., Gordon Shaw, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, 1997
Middle and high school students who participated in instrumental music scored significantly higher than their non-band peers on standardized tests. University studies conducted in Georgia and Texas found significant correlations between the number of years of instrumental music instruction and academic achievement in math, science and language arts.
— University of Sarasota study, Jeffrey Lynn Kluball; East Texas State Univeristy Study, Daryl Erick Trent
Students with coursework/experience in music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT: students in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal and 41 points higher on the math, and students in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on the math, than did students with no arts participation.
— College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile of SAT Program Test Takers. Princeton , NJ : The College Entrance Examination Board, 2001
The musician is constantly adjusting decisions on tempo, tone, style, rhythm, phrasing, and feeling - training the brain to become incredibly good at organizing and conducting numerous activities at once. Dedicated practice of this orchestration can have a great payoff for lifelong attentional skills, intelligence, and an ability for self-knowledge and expression.
— Ratey John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. New York : Pantheon Books, 2001
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Second and third grade students were taught fractions in an untraditional manner - by teaching them basic music rhythm notation. The group was taught about the relationshps between eighth, quarter, half and whole notes. Their peers received traditional fraction instruction. The students who were exposed to music-based lessons scored a full 100 percent higher on their tests than those who learned in the conventional manner.
— Neurological Research, March 15, 1999
Researchers in Leipzig discovered through the use of brain scans that musicians had larger planum temporale, the region of the brain associated with reading skills. Also, musicians had a thicker corpus callosum, the nerve fibers that connect the two halves of the brain.
— G. Schlaug, L. Jancke, Y. Huang, and H. Steinmetz (1994). “In vivo morphometry of interhemispheric asymmetry and connectivity in musicians.” In I. Deliege (Ed.), Proceedings of the 3rd international conference for music perception and cognition (pp. 417-418), Liege, Belgium.
The nation’s top business exectuives agree that arts education programs can help repair weaknesses in American education and better prepare workers for the 21st Century. ~ “The Changing Workplace in Changing Our View of Education”, Business Week, October 1996

Lewis Thomas, physician and biologist, found that music majors comprise the highest percentage of accepted medical students at 66%.
— As reported in “The Case for Music in the Schools,” Phi Delta Kappan, February 1994
Data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 showed that music participants received more academic honors and awards than non-music participants receiving A’s, A’s/B’s, and B’s was higher than the percentage of non-music particpants receiving those grades.
— National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 First Follow Up (1990). US Department of Education
In an analysis of U.S. Department of Education data on more than 25,000 secondary school students (NELS:88, National Education Longitudinal Survey), researchers found that students who report consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show “significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12.” This observation holds regardless of students’ socio-economic status, and differences in those who are involved with instrumental music vs. those who are not is more significant over time.
— Catterall, James S., Richard Chapleau, and John Iwanaga. “Involvement in the Arts and Human Development: General Involvement and Intensive Involvement in Music and Theater Arts. Los Angeles , CA : The Imagination Project at UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, 1999
In the Kindergarten classes of the school district of Kettle Moraine , Wisconsin , children who were given music instruction scored 48 percent higher on spatial-temporal skill tests than those who did not receive music training.
— Rauscher, F.H., and Zupan, M.A. (1999). Classroom keyboard instruction improves kindergarten children's spatial-temporal performance: A field study. Manuscript in press, Early Childhood Research Quarterly
A McGill University study found that pattern recognition and mental representation scores improved significantly for students given piano instruction over a three-year period. They also found that self-esteem and musical skills measures improved for the students given piano instruction. — Costa-Giomi, E. (1998, April). The McGill Piano Project: Effects of three years of piano instruction on children’s cognitive abilities, academic achievement, and self-esteem.
— Paper presented at the meeting of the Music Educators National Conference, Phoenix, AZ
There’s an overlap in the brain mechanism - in the neurons used to process music, language, mathematics and abstract reasoning,” says Dr. Mark Tramo, a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School. “We believe a handful of neural codes is used by the brain, so exercising the brain through music strengthens other cognitive skills. It’s a lot like saying, “If you exercise your body by running, you enhance your ability not only to run but also to play soccer or basketball.
— Parade Magazine, June 14, 1998
Research made between music and intelligence concluded that music training is far greater than computer instruction in improving children’s abstract reasoning skills.
— Shaw, Rauscher, Levine, Wright, Dennis and Newcomb, “Music training causes long-term enhancement of preschool children’s spatial-temporal reasoning,” Neurological Research, vol. 19, February 1997
The arts create jobs, increase the local tax base, boost tourism, spur growth in related businesses (hotels, restaurants, printing, etc.) and improve the overall quality of life for our cities and towns. On a national level, nonprofit arts institutions and organizations generate an estimated $37 billion in economic activity and return $3.4 billion in federal income taxes to the U.S. Treasury each year.
— American Arts Alliance Fact Sheet, October 1996
The arts produce jobs, generating an estimate $37 billion with a return of $3.4 billion in federal income taxes.
— American Arts Alliance Fact Sheet, October 1996
The U.S. Department of Education recommends the arts to college-bound middle and junior high school students asserting, “Many colleges view participation in the arts and music as valuable experience that broadens students’ understanding and appreciation of the world around them.” In addition, it plays a part in developing “children’s intellectual development.” The U.S. DOE also suggests one year of Visual and Performing Arts for college-bound high school students.
— Getting Ready for College Early: A Handbook for Parents of Students in the Middle and Junior High School Years, U.S. Department of Education, 1997
Students in two Rhode Island elementary schools who were given an enriched, sequential, skill-building music program showed marked improvement in reading and math skills. Students in the enriched program who had started out behind the control group caught up to statistical equality in reading, and pulled ahead in math.
— Gardiner, Fox, Jeffrey and Knowles, as reported in Nature, May 23, 1996
A University of California (Irvine) study showed that after eight months of keyboard lessons, preschoolers showed a 46% boost in their spatial reasoning IQ.
— Rauscher, Shaw, Levine , Ky and Wright, "Music and Spatial Task Performance: A Causal Relationship," University of California , Irvine , 1994
The Mozart Effect: According to the journal Nature, listening to Mozart’s Piano Sonata K448 for 10 minutes was found to improve IQ test performance.
Music lessons, and even simply listening to music, can enhance spatial reasoning performance, according to research presented at the 102nd Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

The new findings were presented by psychologist Frances Rauscher, Ph.D. and neuroscientist Gordon Shaw, Ph.D., representing a research team from the University of California at Irvine.

Dr. Rauscher and Dr. Shaw’s studies confirm, and substantially extend their earlier research which demonstrated an unmistakable causal link between music and spatial intelligence. This further research will have considerable potential to reverse the commonly-held view of music education as essentially irrelevant to intellectual development.

The researchers note that well-developed spatial intelligence is the ability to perceive the visual world accurately, to form mental images of physical objects, and to recognize variations of objects. The researchers theorize that spatial reasoning abilities are crucial for such higher brain functions as music, complex mathematics, and chess. As many of the problems in which scientists and engineers engage in cannot be described in verbal form, progress in science may, in fact, be closely linked to the development of certain spatial skills.

Dr. Rauscher and Dr. Shaw’s results show that the spatial reasoning performance of 19 preschool children who received eight months of music lessons, far exceeded the spatial reasoning performance of a demographically comparable group of 15 preschool children who did not receive music lessons.

Moreover, scores on a puzzle task, designed to measure spatial reasoning ability, increased significantly during the course of the period they received the music lessons. This experiment was designed to follow up on results generated by a preliminary pilot study completed by the researchers in 1993.

The second experiment, presented at the meeting by Dr. Rauscher and Dr. Shaw, expanded on their widely-reported study published by Nature in October 1993, which found that listening to 10 minutes of Mozart’s Piano Sonata K 448 increased spatial IQ scores in college students, relative to silence or relaxation instructions. The new findings replicated the effect, and found no increase in spatial skills after subjects listened to 10 minutes of either a composition by Philip Glass or a highly rhythmic dance piece, suggesting that hypnotic musical structures will not enhance spatial skills.

Dr. Rauscher and Dr. Shaw suggest that these two complementary studies have serious educational and scientific implications. “We are in the process of designing further studies directed toward strengthening the enhancing effect of music training on spatial reasoning that we found for the preschoolers. We hope our research will help convince public school administrators of how crucial music instruction is to all children,” they explained. Dr. Rauscher and Dr. Shaw also plan experiments which will begin to examine the neuronal mechanisms responsible for the causal link between music and spatial intelligence.

Researchers in Leipzig found that brain scans of musicians showed larger planum temporale (a brain region related to some reading skills) than those of non-musicians. They also found that the musicians had a thicker corpus callosum (the bundle of nerve fibers that connects the two halves of the brain) than those of non-musicians, especially for those who had begun their training before the age of seven.
— Schlaug, G., Jancke, L., Huang, Y., and Steinmetz, H. (1994). In vivo morphometry of interhem ispheric assymetry and connectivity in musicians. In I. Deliege (Ed.), Proceedings of the 3d international conference for music perception and cognition (pp. 417-418). Liege , Belgium
Researchers at the University of Montreal used various brain imaging techniques to investigate brain activity during musical tasks and found that sight-reading musical scores and playing music both activate regions in all four of the cortex’s lobes; and that parts of the cerebellum are also activated during those tasks.
— Sergent, J., Zuck, E., Tenial, S., and MacDonall, B. (1992). Distributed neural network underlying musical sight reading and keyboard performance
The Beatles hold the top spot of album sales in the US (106 million), followed by Garth Brooks (92 million), Led Zeppelin (83 million), Elvis Presley (77 million), and the Eagles (65 million). Worldwide The Beatles sold more than 1 billion records.
According to the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, music students received more academic honors and awards than non-music students. A higher percentage of music participants received As, As/Bs, and Bs than non-music participants.
— NELS:88 First Follow-up, 1990, National Center for Education Statistics, Washington D.C.
An Auburn University study found significant increases in overall self-concept of at-risk children participating in an arts program that included music, movement, dramatics and art, as measured by the Piers-Harris Children’s Self-Concept Scale.
— N.H. Barry, Project ARISE: Meeting the needs of disadvantaged students through the arts, Auburn University, 1992
College aged musicians are emotionally healthier than their non-musician counterparts. A study conducted at the University of Texas looked at 362 students who were in their first semester of college. They were given 3 tests, measuring performance anxiety, emotional concerns and alcohol related problems. In addition to having fewer battles with the bottle, researchers also noted that the college aged music students seemed to have surer footing when facing tests.
A ten year study tracking more than 25,000 students shows that music-making improves test scores. Regardless of socioeconomic background, music-making students get higher marks on standardized tests than those who had no music involvement. The test scores studied were not only standardized tests, such as the SAT, but also in reading proficiency exams.