Music and nonmusical abilities

E. Glenn Schellenberg

in The Child as Musician

Second edition

Published in print September 2015 | ISBN: 9780198744443
Published online November 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191805776 | DOI:
Music and nonmusical abilities

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Music Theory and Analysis
  • Developmental Psychology


Show Summary Details


This chapter examines whether exposure to music is associated with nonmusical abilities. Such exposure includes music listening and formal training in music. Performance on tests of cognitive abilities can be enhanced after listening to music, but these effects are due to positive changes in emotional state. Effects of listening to background music while engaged in a cognitive activity are poorly understood because multiple factors are involved. Taking music lessons in childhood is associated positively with verbal and visuospatial abilities, as well as with memory and IQ. Although experimental studies indicate that music lessons can cause small increases in cognitive abilities, the large associations observed in real-world contexts must be attributable, at least in part, to pre-existing differences in music aptitude, general cognitive abilities, and/or personality.

Keywords: music lessons; music training; music aptitude; IQ; personality; intelligence; cognition; personality

Chapter.  16828 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis ; Developmental Psychology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content. subscribe or login to access all content.