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Márta Janurik: The Contribution of Musical Abilities to Learning to Read

Music education can contribute to the efficiency of school-based learning. Research has emphasized the role of music learning in personality development and in the development of cognitive abilities and skills. Findings show that musical aptitude is associated with literacy and general intelligence. This paper presents a review of the literature on the connection between musical abilities and learning to read. After a summary of the transfer effects of music learning, the relationship of music and speech processing is discussed, as well as linguistic skills related to music processing. Then the concept of phonemic awareness, which plays a central role in learning to read, is outlined. Empirical results regarding the connection between music processing, phonological awareness and reading are summarised. Finally, studies on music learning, verbal memory and reading efficacy are reviewed. A unified framework based on empirical studies exploring the reading and music learning connection is still lacking. Further research is needed to reveal more accurately what types of musical activities and which components of music learning may enhance the acquisition of reading. The most definite relationship that can be traced connects music abilities, phonemic awareness and the awareness of the sound structure of language in general. The ability to discriminate musical pitch predicts reading efficacy. It has also been shown that phonological awareness can be developed by special musical training. The findings from empirical investigations of music and speech processing are also supported by neurological research.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 108. Number 4. 289-317. (2008)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Janurik Márata Szegedi Tudományegyetem, Zeneművészeti Kar, H–6722 Szeged, Tisza Lajos krt. 79–81.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia