A new long-term USC study finds that music instruction — like the Harmony program at Riverside Arts Academy — improves cognitive, socio-emotional development in young children.

According to the study, published in the the journal Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, music instruction appears to accelerate brain development in young children, particularly in the areas of the brain that are responsible for processing sound, language development, speech perception and reading skills. Thirteen of the children, at 6 or 7 years old, began to receive music instruction through the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles program at HOLA. The scientists are comparing the budding musicians with peers in two other groups: 11 children in a community soccer program, and 13  children who are not involved in any specific after-school programs. Within two years of the study, the neuroscientists found the auditory systems of children in the music program were maturing faster than those in the other children. The fine-tuning of their auditory pathway could accelerate their development of language and reading, as well as other abilities – a potential effect which the scientists are continuing to study.

This is a very similarly structured approach to music learning led by Alpin Hong within the Harmony program at Riverside Arts Academy.

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