Public Release: 

Adolescents involved with music do better in school

Social class and ethnicity affect music participation

Wiley

Columbus, OH--February 10, 2009--A new study in the journal Social Science Quarterly reveals that music participation, defined as music lessons taken in or out of school and parents attending concerts with their children, has a positive effect on reading and mathematic achievement in early childhood and adolescence. Additionally, socioeconomic status and ethnicity affect music participation.

Darby E. Southgate, MA, and Vincent Roscigno, Ph.D., of The Ohio State University reviewed two nationally representative data sources to analyze patterns of music involvement and possible effects on math and reading performance for both elementary and high school students.

Music is positively associated with academic achievement, especially during the high school years.

However, not all adolescents participate in music equally, and certain groups are disadvantaged in access to music education. Families with high socioeconomic status participate more in music than do families with lower socioeconomic status. In addition to social class as a predictor of music participation, ethnicity is also a factor. Asians and Whites are more likely to participate in music than are Hispanics. While young Black children attended concerts with their parents, they were less likely to take music lessons.

"This topic becomes an issue of equity at both the family and school levels," the authors conclude. "This has major policy implications for federal, state, and local agencies, as well as knowledge that can help families allocate resources that are most beneficial to children."

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This study is published in the March 2009 issue of Social Science Quarterly. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact journalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

Darby E. Southgate is affiliated with The Ohio State University and can be reached for questions at Southgate.5@sociology.osu.edu.

Nationally recognized as one of the top journals in the field, Social Science Quarterly (SSQ) publishes current research on a broad range of topics including political science, sociology, economics, history, social work, geography, international studies, and women's studies. SSQ is the journal of the Southwestern Social Science Association.

Wiley-Blackwell was formed in February 2007 as a result of the acquisition of Blackwell Publishing Ltd. by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and its merger with Wiley's Scientific, Technical, and Medical business. Together, the companies have created a global publishing business with deep strength in every major academic and professional field. Wiley-Blackwell publishes approximately 1,400 scholarly peer-reviewed journals and an extensive collection of books with global appeal. For more information on Wiley-Blackwell, please visit www.wiley.com or http://interscience.wiley.com.

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