An investigation on the effects of piano training on executive functions of preschool children.

An investigation on the effects of piano training on executive functions of preschool children.

A recent Ph.D thesis (Qiu, 2015) has revealed the effect of piano training on the executive function of young children. Piano is a popular instrument in China with over 30 million children receiving piano instruction. Neuroscience has been to exploring the reported effects of music instruction on the brain, such as increasing the size of the cerebellum, neural plasticity and structural change. More specifically, piano instruction has been linked to the development of neural plasticity (Altenmüler, 2008; Hodges, 2000). It has been suggested changes in the brain structure may improve childrens’ executive function.

Executive function is the ability to manage and direct cognitive processes involving emotional and behavioural responses to problem solving. The connection between music instruction and executive function is in its early stages and researchers are only beginning to find relationships between the two.

The current study (Qiu, 2015) undertook data collection of two groups of young children in China. One group were receiving daily piano instruction and the other group receiving no piano instruction. The daily piano instruction groups undertook piano lessons for 40 weeks over the period of one year. The executive functioning of both groups was measured and the beginning and the conclusion of the study.

Executive functioning consisted of measuring emotional control, working memory, and the ability to plan and organize. Analysis revealed that executive functioning of both groups improved over the one-year period, although the piano instruction group outperformed the control group in terms of emotional control, the ability to plan and organize, and global executive functioning.

The findings show that piano instruction, on a daily basis, is positively associated with executive function development above normal developmental progress as found with the results of the control group. Additionally, the analysis showed the piano instruction group displayed greater improvement in their executive functioning when they had teachers who were more effective in piano instruction. The researcher further suggests that moderating factors of piano instructor and parent could factor in the increased improvement of executive functioning of the piano instruction group over that of the control group, although further detailed analysis is required.

 

 

An investigation on the effects of piano training on executive functions of preschool children.

 

Altenmüler, E. (2008). Neurology of musical performance. Clinical Medicine, 8(4), 410-414.

Hodges, D. A. (2000). A virtual panel of experts. Music Educators Journal, 87(2), 40-44+60.

Qiu, Z. (2015). An investigation on the effects of music training on executive functions of preschool children in China. Ph.D, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne.

 

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