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Music Listening vs. Music Performance/Activity

Music research indicates that both music listening and music performance have significant benefits. Several years ago popular culture was abuzz with the Mozart Effect, the incorrect notion that simply listening to Mozart for several minutes a day increased a child’s IQ on a permanent basis. While subsequent music research indicates Mozart Effect does not exist, there have been several studies that indicate the listening to music does have significant physiological benefits.

• The act of listening to music has several noted benefits (Yoon):
• Stress relief and emotional release.
• Increased creativity and abstract thinking.
• Positive influences on the bodies overall energy levels and heart rhythm

Music research on music education suggests that musical activities like dancing, playing an instrument, and singing demonstrate long term benefits in memory, language development, concentration, and physical agility. (Netherwood, Schellenberg). Added memory and language skills help the average musician gain a better understanding of human language than those who do not engage in musical activities. (Moreno) Long term cognitive and language skills increased for student musicians who maintained long term commitments to music by studying an instrument or engaging in vocal performance.

Key Points: Music research shows that music education benefits students notably by its positive effects on the brain’s functions.

Some key points to remember: • Music research indicates the music education benefits students by increasing self-expression, cognitive abilities, language development, and agility.
• Music is unique in its ability to affect more than a single brain hemisphere, incorporating both the right and left sides of the brain.
• While music listening has marked benefits regarding physiological effects of stress, playing an instrument or taking vocal lessons offers a marked increase in the benefits of music education, especially in regards to memory, language, and cognitive development.