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Examining the relationship between music training and early reading skills in children

Faculty Advisor




musical perception, reading skills

Abstract (summary)

Past research has found a unique relationship between musical perceptual abilities and reading skills. The literature is highly inconclusive as to why that relationship may exist, with many researchers reporting contradictory results. There are two main theories of thought that overarch the research in this area. One is that the relationship is of a domain specific nature, the other, that it is more domain general. There is evidence to support each of the previously mentioned hypotheses, which has created a very contradictory and confusing explanation of the relationship. However, the inconsistent findings may be due to a lack of clearly defined musical perception measures. The present study attempts to clarify some of the inconsistencies in past research by using real musical stimuli and age appropriate tasks for children, elements that have at times been overlooked in previous studies. The children completed a standardized musical perception task and an abridged version of the Mini Profile of Music Perception Skills (Mini-PROMS). This task assesses perceptual ability to detect changes in speed, tuning, accent and melody. Participants were also tested using the Beat Alignment Task and asked to identify drummers who are on versus off the beat. Musical perception scores were then compared to reading scores on standardized tests. We hypothesize that by examining musical perception and reading in this way, we will find evidence of a domain general relationship between music perceptual abilities and amount of training and reading.

Publication Information



Presented on April 23, 2018 at Student Research Day held at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta.

Item Type

Student Presentation




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