Effects of Musical Training on Mathematical Learning in Children
Numeracy deficits in childhood have a negative impact on socioeconomic status and academic performance achieved in adulthood. We designed the NMT (Numeracy Musical Training) and carried out a study with preschool children to investigate its potential to stimulate early numerical cognition. Then, we applied the NMT in 3rd and 4th graders with low achievement in mathematics to test its effects on remediation. Contrasting pre- and post-test assessments, results from both studies indicated improvements in specific components of numerical cognition in comparison to the control group. In another study, we conducted a musical training to test the effect of rhythmic and melodic tasks to remediate numeracy deficits in a sample of children with mathematical learning disorder. A key finding was that benefits on number production, number comprehension, and calculation were time-resistant on a 10-week follow up. Our research along with neuroimaging studies and recent systematic reviews with meta-analyses support the hypothesis that musical training benefits the development of cognitive and academic skills. It seems a sustainable approach to support and incentive the development of the elementary mathematical competencies that will seed future careers in STEM.