Playing music in childhood improves school grades

Playing music in childhood improves school grades

Study: Young musicians often have better school grades

Those who receive music lessons in childhood benefit from this later in life. This was the result of a long-term study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). Accordingly, young musicians have better grades than their peers who do not master a musical instrument. According to the researchers, music lessons also promote ambition and conscientiousness.

Children's music lessons increase the likelihood of graduating from high school Children who play a musical instrument have better grades in school, according to the study, in which the researchers evaluated data from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) of almost 4,000 adolescents. The focus was on the 17-year-olds who had received music lessons since the age of eight.

"Especially young people from less educated families benefit from music lessons," explains SOEP director Jürgen Schupp, who conducted the study in cooperation with DIW economist Adrian Hille. Compared to other young people from similar families of origin who did not play in childhood, on average they have much better grades. However, the differences are less noticeable among 17-year-olds from more educated families. However, the level of education of the parents largely determines whether children learn a musical instrument. The researchers report that young people from higher social classes in particular continue to take music lessons.

The researchers emphasize the importance of greater government funding for extracurricular music lessons that are open to all children, regardless of their social background and their parents' income. A good example is the program “Every child has an instrument” (JeKi), in which children can learn an instrument free of charge for one year. "With the help of such initiatives, dormant potential can be awakened by young people and there is a chance to reduce social inequality," explains Hille.

Another result of the study: Young people who had music lessons early on are more conscientious, open and ambitious. "The researchers' calculations show that they are eight percent more likely than others to pursue high school and then study," says a statement from the DIW. (ag)

Image: Egon Häbich /

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