Learning a musical instrument is beneficial for children’s behaviour, memory and intelligence, a government-commissioned study suggests.
Research found that learning to play an instrument enlarges the left side of the brain, enhancing pupils’ power of memory by almost 20 per cent.
Susan Hallam, of the University of London’s Institute of Education, carried out the research as part of a drive to encourage more children to take up a musical instrument.
The study revealed that over time music lessons increased pupils’ IQ by seven points, compared with 4.3 points for drama lessons.
Several US studies have also found that playing an instrument improves children’s behaviour. According to Professor Hallam this is because working in small musical groups requires trust, respect and compromise.
The Government aims to double the number of opportunities for children, aged from seven to eleven, to learn an instrument for free by 2011.
Over half of primary-aged children currently learn an instrument.