Several studies have suggested that intensive musical training enhances children's linguistic skills. Such training, however, is not available to all children.
Researchers at Cognitive Brain Research Unit in the University of Helsinki studied in a community setting whether a low-cost, weekly music playschool provided to 5–6-year-old children in kindergartens affects their linguistic abilities.
The children (N=66) were tested four times over two school-years with phoneme processing and vocabulary subtests, along with tests for perceptual reasoning skills and inhibitory control.
According to the results, published in Scientific Reports, music playschool significantly improved the development of children’s phoneme processing and vocabulary skills, compared to their peers either attending to similarly organized dance lessons or not attending to either activity.
"Our data suggest that even playful group music activities – if attended to for several years – have a positive effect on preschoolers’ linguistic skills," says the first author of the research, Tanja Linnavalli.
"Therefore we promote the concept of implementing regular music playschool lessons given by professional teachers in early childhood education."
Tanja Linnavalli will defend the doctoral dissertation entitled Effects of musical experience on children's language and brain development in the Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki, on January 17, 2019.
Music playschool enhances children’s linguistic skills (Linnavalli, Putkinen, Lipsanen, Huotilainen & Tervaniemi), Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-27126-5
News of the research was published originally on the University of Helsinki webpages on June 8, 2018. This page was updated on January 10, 2019 with the information about the dissertation.