Temporal processing underlies both music and language skills. There is increasing evidence that rhythm abilities track with reading performance and that language disorders such as dyslexia are associated with poor rhythm abilities. However, little is known about how basic time-keeping skills can be shaped by musical training, particularly during critical literacy development years. This study was carried out in collaboration with Harmony Project, a non-profit organization providing free music education to children in the gang reduction zones of Los Angeles. Our findings reveal that elementary school children with just one year of classroom music instruction perform more accurately in a basic finger-tapping task than their untrained peers, providing important evidence that fundamental time-keeping skills may be strengthened by short-term music training. This sets the stage for further examination of how music programs may be used to support the development of basic skills underlying learning and literacy, particularly in at-risk populations which may benefit the most.