The idea that music makes you smarter received considerable attention from scientists and the media. Listening to music or playing an instrument can actually make you learn better. And research confirms this.

The effects of an early intervention music curriculum on prereading/writing.
Register D.  J Music Ther. 2001 Fall;38(3):239-48. PubMed


This study evaluated the effects of music sessions using a curriculum designed to enhance the prereading and writing skills of 25 children aged 4 to 5 years who were enrolled in Early Intervention and Exceptional Student Education programs. This study was a replication of the work of Standley and Hughes (1997) and utilized a larger sample size (n = 50) in order to evaluate the efficacy of a music curriculum designed specifically to teach prereading and writing skills versus one that focuses on all developmental areas. Both the experimental (n = 25) and control (n = 25) groups received two 30-minute sessions each week for an entire school year for a minimum of 60 sessions per group. The differentiating factors between the two groups were the structure and components of the musical activities. The fall sessions for the experimental group were focused primarily on writing skills while the spring sessions taught reading/book concepts. Music sessions for the control group were based purely on the thematic material, as determined by the classroom teacher with purposeful exclusion of all preliteracy concepts. All participants were pretested at the beginning of the school year and posttested before the school year ended. Overall, results demonstrated that music sessions significantly enhanced both groups’ abilities to learn prewriting and print concepts. However, the experimental group showed significantly higher results on the logo identification posttest and the word recognition test. Implications for curriculum design and academic and social applications of music in Early Intervention programs are discussed.