Research conducted by Hampshire County Council has found that teenagers that take music lessons are more likely to get better grades than those that don’t.
The results of 608 students from three unidentified schools across the county were compared as part of the study – with 81 per cent of these participants not learning to play an instrument or having any singing lessons.
And the research, which is the first of its kind in the UK, found that between junior school and GCSE level, children taking music lessons progressed to an average grade of 3.6 in English, compared to a 3.03 average for those that didn’t.
An even greater difference was found in Maths results in the study, with instrumentalists progressing to an average of 0.83 more than other children.
The research also found that the “impact is greater the longer a person has been playing an instrument”, with the results since being published in the British Journal of Music Education.
Executive member for education, Cllr Peter Edgar, said: “It will come as no surprise to many teachers and musicians that learning music helps young people learn other subjects more successfully.
“We now have evidence to support that view.
“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to actually prove this through academic research, validated by peer review.
“Now that the research is available worldwide in an international, highly respected, professional journal, to the music education community, it’s to be hoped that other education authorities and schools will be able to make use of our learning.”
The research was instigated because many secondary school pupils miss some of their timetabled lessons in order to pursue learning an instrument.
And the county council was keen to understand the effect of this on children’s learning, with county inspector for music education, Kevin Rogers, exploring this link between music and educational attainment.
He said: “The evidence presented in this paper provides the first evidence from UK secondary schools that playing a musical instrument enhances performance on national examinations at Key Stage 4.
“My initial observations suggested that learning to play an instrument, or taking vocal lessons, correlated with high attainment in core subjects.
“However, I needed to prove that this correlation was caused by the musical learning, rather than other influences on attainment that music students might have in common with each other.”