New research conducted by Dr. Nina Kraus and colleagues at Northwestern University are the first to demonstrate a direct correlation between a person’s ability to keep in time to the beat of music and the ability to read better. The study was published in The Journal of Neuroscience on Sept. 18, 2013.
One hundred teenage students participated in a two part experiment conducted by Dr. Kraus.
The first test measured the accuracy with which each student was able to tap their fingers in time to a metronome.
The second experiment used electroencephalography (EEG) to measure each teen’s ability to respond to hearing the sound “da” in a thirty minute tape and measured the brain waves produced in the major sound sensing areas of the brain.
Teens who kept better time with a metronome the best were also found to be the students that responded more accurately to the taped “da” sound.
"Rhythm is inherently a part of music and language," Kraus said. "It may be that musical training, with an emphasis on rhythmic skills, exercises the auditory-system, leading to strong sound-to-meaning associations that are so essential in learning to read."