Statistics in the media

Do music lessons make you smarter?

  • Year after year, researchers report associations between children’s participation in music classes and better grades, higher SAT scores and elevated cognitive skills. It’s also well known that many successful adults played instruments as children. On the basis of such evidence, you might assume that music education helped cause such positive outcomes.  That is a misguided assumption.
  • Correlation does not imply causation.   Parents who can afford private music lessons might also be more likely to read to their children than to sit them in front of the TV. Children willing to practice an instrument daily might also persevere longer than their peers on their math homework.

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