When the music's over. Does music skill transfer to children's and young adolescents' cognitive and academic skills? A meta-analysis

Giovanni Sala, Fernand Gobet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

50 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Music training has been recently claimed to enhance children and young adolescents' cognitive and academic skills. However, substantive research on transfer of skills suggests that far-transfer - i.e., the transfer of skills between two areas only loosely related to each other - occurs rarely. In this meta-analysis, we examined the available experimental evidence regarding the impact of music training on children and young adolescents' cognitive and academic skills. The results of the random-effects models showed (a) a small overall effect size (d¯=0.16); (b) slightly greater effect sizes with regard to intelligence (d¯=0.35) and memory-related outcomes (d¯=0.34); and (c) an inverse relation between the size of the effects and the methodological quality of the study design. These results suggest that music training does not reliably enhance children and young adolescents' cognitive or academic skills, and that previous positive findings were probably due to confounding variables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-67
Number of pages13
JournalEducational Research Review
Volume20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01-02-2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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