Institutional AffiliationImpact of Musical Interventions on Language and Cognitive Development and Its Implications for Educational Practice

Published: 2022-04-07 10:00:00
Institutional AffiliationImpact of Musical Interventions on Language and Cognitive Development and Its Implications for Educational Practice
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: Company United States Law Personality Society
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1751 words
15 min read


Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The need to address the literacy of children in the preschool period take into account that the precursors of formal reading have their origins in the early stages of the child's life and depend to a large extent on the intervention processes. In other words, the ability to learn is linked to what the mediator does, which stands between the child and the world to make it intelligible (Bruner, 1986; Lautrey, 1985; Adams, 1990; Graves, Neuman, & Dickinson, 2003; Juel& Graves, 2000). According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (1998), children take their initial critical steps towards learning to read and write in their pre-school years.

Music education in early childhood is relevant to all the child's linguistic abilities, which are mostly developed around the age of five (Perlovsky, 2010). The age at which musical training begins can be a significant factor of influence (Jentschke & Koelsch,2009; Schellenberg, 2001). In this way, music can facilitate expressive language in children with difficulties as well as in children with a normalized development (Corriveau & Goswami, 2009; Schlaug, 2010; Vitoria, 2005). Music training can also help the development of receptive language in early childhood because the child can better understand the meaning of a word when experimenting with a musical movement or a song (Pica, 2009). Musical training also improves verbal knowledge to a child (Ho, Cheung, & Chan, 2003).

This essay explores various studies that have been conducted on music and literacy in early childhood. The paper evaluates research designs, type of interventions, outcomes, as well as the strengths and limitations of the studies in order to draw conclusions and make recommendations on effective use of music in building a child's early literacy skills.

Impact of Musical Interventions on Language and Cognitive Development

Research into the effects of music interventions has indicated positive results on various literacy and development skills. These interventions have the potential to support learning and child development. This paper analyses multiple studies on the elements of research design, type of interventions, outcome measures and age of participants, with the objective to assess the effectiveness of the chosen approaches, and implications on future studies. The primary focus was on the domain fields of Language and cognitive development.


This includes studies linking music intervention to language particularly on reading; and auditory processing and phonological awareness. Several studies suggested that musical activities had a positive impact on the phonological knowledge of the children.

Escalda (2011) conducted a study using a descriptive, comparative design that involved 56 five-year-old children to examine the relationship between musical activities, auditory processing abilities and phonological awareness skills of the children. The results indicated a significant performance for 26 children who were involved in musical activities with respect to their auditory processing and phonological awareness skills, compared to their 30 counterparts who did not engage in music. In an exploratory study that involved 30 children with an average of 5.6 years in investigating whether musical activities enhanced reading skills, Moritz (2013) observed that the phonological awareness skills of kids who received music training lessons were better than those of kids who did not participate in the experiences.

Using a Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial, Cogo-Moreira (2013) conducted a study in 10 schools that involved 235 eight to ten-year-old participants with reading problems. The study aimed to assess the effectiveness of music education for the improvement of the children's reading skills. Five schools were randomly chosen to incorporate music classes (n = 114) and five schools, who were not encouraged to offer musical activities, served as controls (n = 121). The study recorded no improvement in phonological awareness when comparing the two groups. The results also indicated no increase in reading skills for children engaged in music activities. These results contrasted Flaugnacco (2015) results that showed improved reading skills performance for children in music in comparison to those who received no training. The limitations of using RTC method is the considerable investment on both time and cost. The technique takes long periods of time and interference may occur before data analysis. Interventions adopted require enormous sample sizes, which prompts the use of observational study to provide results.

Herrera (2011) used a two-year pretest-posttest study involving 97 children (mean age 4.5 years) at two preschools. The study followed stratified randomization procedures into a group that received phonological training with music (n = 32), a group that received phonological training with no music (n = 34) and a control group who did not receive any specialized training (n = 31). The results showed that both experimental treatment groups outperformed the control group in the posttests on phonological awareness tasks and speed in naming objects. Those who had participated in the training with musical activities outperformed their peers in the control group by the end of the treatment. Using a pre-post comparison design, Mora (2015) tested the efficacy of a phonological training program aimed at improving early reading skills in 7-8 year-old Spanish children learning English as a foreign language in three groups: an experimental group with phonological non-musical intervention (n = 22), an experimental group with musical intervention (n = 18) and a control group receiving the traditional teaching program (n = 23). The results indicated beneficial impacts of the phonological teaching approach, but the effect of the music support was not shown.

In an experimental study, Rautenberg (2013) assessed the link between musical skills and decoding skills and the effects of musical training on word-level reading abilities. The study included 159 seven years old children who were randomly allocated to a special music training program (n = 33), a visual arts training program (n = 41), or no training program for the period of the study (n = 85). Results indicated a significant effect of special music training on children reading accuracy. In a longitudinal, experimental study, Dege and Schwarzer (2011) investigated the effect of a music program on phonological awareness in 41 randomly selected preschoolers with a mean age of 5.6 years. The children were assigned to a phonological skills program (n = 13), a music program (n = 13), or a sport group (n = 14). Results indicated that 26 children who followed either the phonological or the music program significantly improved in phonological awareness of large phonological units in comparison to the sports group who received no intervention. An experimental longitudinal approach allows for in-depth and comprehensive comparison and provides guidelines for effective evaluation.

Cognitive Development

This focuses on issues of children intelligence, attention and memory and how music interventions impact on a child's cognitive development abilities. It encompasses a child's thought processing, problem-solving, and decision-making abilities. As children develop mentally, their observation skills and interaction with the environment greatly influences who they become in the future. Music has been known to impact on a great level a child's ability to process, use and store information.

In a non-randomized, longitudinal design study that involved 16 9- 11-year-old children, Dege (2011) noted that after two years of extended music curriculum (ECM) training, auditory memory scores and short-term visual scores of children had significantly improved. Roden (2012) conducted a quasi-experimental study involving 25 children with an average of 7.73 years which allocated participants to a music program, a science program or a control group. The results demonstrated that 25 children involved in the music program, outperformed 25 of their counterparts in the natural science training program and 23 children in the control group who had no musical training, on verbal memory activities. A quasi-experimental design limited sample of participants makes it difficult to evaluate the validity of results.

Rickard (2010) in a longitudinal study involving 82 children (mean age 8.62 years) showed significant enhancement of verbal learning and immediate verbal recall scores after 1 year, but not 2 years after non-random allocation to an increased classroom-based instrumental music training, in comparison to 68 children (mean age 8.79 years), who received no training. In an experimental design, Martens (2011) focused on the effect of musical experience on verbal memory in 38 individuals aged 6-59 years with Williams's syndrome. The participants who participated in formal music lessons scored remarkably better on verbal memory activities when the stimuli were sung than when they were spoken as compared to those who had no have formal lessons, showing no benefit for either sung or spoken condition.

Implications for Educational Practice

Many early childhood education programs do not have a staff of music education teachers. In many early childhood education schools, classroom teachers are responsible for conducting musical activities (Custo-dero, Fox, Nardo, & Persellin, 2006; Siebenaler, 2006). However, many teachers lack confidence in their singing skills and therefore avoid the use of music (Heyning, 2011; Siebenaler, 2006). The musical formation within the curricula of infant education and primary education is an essential component of music education (Koops, 2008). Many teachers use songs and movement activities on a daily basis and value music as a critical tool for learning, but recognize that music education teachers are better prepared to employ these techniques (Hennessy, 2000; Button, 2006).

A music training program dubbed "Musical Awakening," developed in line with the standards of music education performance (Music Educators National Conference on Performance Standards, 1996), the HighScope curriculum (HighScope Preschool Curriculum) and the objectives of Head Start indicated significant improvement on literacy skills on its initial test (Lebron, 2006). The training program adapted the musical activities that should be developed in the classroom from the preschool curriculum. The teachers were able to work consistently on musical skills at least three times a week with their students and enabled their students to improve in all domains. Different teachers have different views and enthusiasm about the influence of music in their classes, which affect the results of the children.

The present intervention of music programs in schools increases, to a greater extent than the programs current skills used in schools, phonological awareness skills, the recognition and writing of words and texts, as well as also the skills of comprehension and oral production of narrative documents, in the short and medium term. The teacher's level of commitment is significant in the evaluation of the impact of the training. Music education teachers involved in developing the training program showed an improved degree of language mastery among the children. It is necessary to adopt and implement appropriate strategies in education practice to improve literacy skills of children in learning institutions. Music teachers appreciate the use of music in their classes (Kim & Choy, 2008; Lum, 2008) mainly because they under...

Cite this page

Institutional AffiliationImpact of Musical Interventions on Language and Cognitive Development and Its Implications for Educational Practice. (2022, Apr 07). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism