Music Perception December 2011

Here’s the Table of Contents from the December issue of Music Perception.  If you click on a title, it will take you to the first page & citation in JSTOR.  I’ve included excerpts from some of the abstracts.  This issue should be of interest to any music educator.

  •  Music Training and Nonmusical Abilities: Introduction  From the abstract:   The objective of this special issue of Music perception…is to present the best new research on associations between music training and nonmusical abilities. . .
  • Playing Music for a Smarter Ear: Cognitive, Perceptual and Neurobiological Evidence  From the abstract:  In this review we argue not only that common neural mechanisms for speech and music exist, but that experience in music leads to enhancements in sensory and cognitive contributors to speech processing.
  • Associations Between Length of Music Training and Reading Skills in Children
  • Music Training and Reading Readiness
  • Effect of Music Training on Promoting Preliteracy Skills: Preliminary Causal Evidence
  • The Effect of Background Music on Cognitive Performance in Musicians and Nonmusicians  From the abstract:  There is debate about the extent of overlap between music and language processing in the brain and whether these processes are functionally independent in expert musicians.  A language comprehension task and a visuospatial search task were administered to 36 expert musicians and 36 matched nonmusicians in conditions of silence and piano music played correctly and incorrectly.  Musicians performed more poorly on the language comprehension task in the presence of background music compared to silence, but there was no effect of background music on the musicians’ performance on the visuospatial task.  In contrast, the performance of the nonmusicians was not affected by music on either task. . . Additionally, musicians outperformed nonmusicians on both tasks . . .
  • Music Lessons, Emotional Intelligence, and IQ
  • Music Lessons and Intelligence: A Relation Mediated by Executive Functions  From the abstract:  . . . Intelligence and five different executive functions (set shifting, selective attention, planning, inhibition, and fluency) were assessed in 9- to 12-year-old children with varying amounts of music lessons. Significant associations emerged between music lessons and all of the measures of executive function. . . . Our results suggest that at least part of the association between music lessons and intelligence is explained by the positive influence music lessons have on executive functions, which in turn improve performance on intelligence tests.
  • Do Mathematicians Have Above Average Musical Skill?  From the abstract:  . . . We examined the popular conception that mathematicians have better music abilities than nonmathematicians. We administered a self-report questionnaire via the internet to assess musicality (music perception and music memory) and musicianship (music performance and music creation). Respondents were doctoral-level members of the American Mathematical Association or the Modern Language Association (i.e., literature and language scholars). The mathematics group did not exhibit higher levels of either musicality or musicianship. Among those reporting high music-performance ability (facility in playing an instrument and/or sight-reading ability), mathematicians did not report significantly greater musicality than did the literature/language scholars. . . .
  • Music Instruction and its Diverse Extra-Musical Benefits  From the abstract:  This article provides an overview of our research, including studies yet unpublished, on the effects of music on cognition. Music instruction can enhance children’s spatial-temporal reasoning, numerical reasoning, and phonemic awareness. Longitudinal studies of middle-income and economically disadvantaged preschoolers reveal that children who receive music instruction prior to age 7 show improved performance on spatial-temporal and numerical reasoning tasks compared to children in control groups—effects that persist for two years after the intervention ends. . . . Our studies also show improved perceptual discrimination as a function of music training: adult string players have lower than average pitch discrimination thresholds, whereas adult percussionists have lower than average temporal discrimination thresholds.
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