The Case for Music Education

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) has announced “the publication of a groundbreaking white paper on the extraordinary impact of music education on child development.” Titled Music for Every Child, the white paper was written by Indre Viskontas, a neuroscientist who’s also a soprano with a master’s degree in vocal performance from SFCM, where she’s been teaching.


Combining a passion for music with scientific curiosity, Indre Viskontas is affectionately known as Dr. Dre by students at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she is pioneering the application of neuroscience to music training at the University of San Francisco where she teaches neuroscience. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Toronto, a Master of Music in Voice Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Neuroscience from UCLA.

Music for Every Child: a special report for parents, educators, community organizers, policy-makers and citizens of the world, aggregates existing research to codify and clarify the precise impacts music education has on developing minds, from improving skills like planning and following instructions to building stronger neuroplasticity and providing a quantifiably significant incentive for children at risk for dropping out to remain in school.

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The reports findings included:

  • Both music and language play distinct roles in our evolution as a species, our development as individuals, and our capacity to build communities
  • Musical training not only accelerates brain development, but also produces long-lasting changes even in the mature adult brain
  • Kids between the ages of five and seven who are better at clapping in time to a rhythm show
    neurophysiological responses that correlate with better literacy skills
  • Music lessons in childhood correlate with better academic performance and higher IQ scores, even
    when controlling for family income and parental education.
  • Adolescents in performing arts programs were less likely to engage in risky behaviors compared with
    peers who were primarily involved in athletics

Download the Report