Schools are under constant pressure to make budget cuts, and music programs are often first on the chopping block. Now, an extensive study from the University of British Columbia in Canada shows that students who took music lessons in high school performed better in subjects such as English, science, and math.
The researchers collected data from over 100,000 students at public high schools across the province of British Columbia. This covered all the students who graduated between 2012 and 2015. More than 15,000 of them were taking music lessons during their time in high school.
Comparing the test scores of students who took music classes with those of their peers, the musicians got higher grades in a range of different school subjects. Research like this has been done before, but the current study is much larger, and took into account other factors that may have affected the results. For example, perhaps students who took music classes were encouraged to do so because they already had good grades. Or perhaps students were more or less inclined to study music depending on their socioeconomic background, which could also affect academic scores. The research team corrected for these factors in their data analysis, and they still found a clear effect of music lessons on academic performance.