Does Art Make Us Smarter?

A three-year study sponsored by the Dana Foundation reveals the connection between art and learning. The researchers found:

-Students who came to the study with more musical training tended to make faster gains in reading fluency than did students with no musical backgrounds;

-For stronger readers “white matter” pathways responsible for phonological awareness—the ability to pull apart and manipulate the sounds in speech—are more highly developed;

-There is a link between visual-arts lessons taken outside of school and children’s skill at math calculations, possibly because both activities involve recognizing patterns;

-Middle school and high school students who studied music intensively, typically because they were enrolled in special schools for the arts, were better than students with little or no musical training at tasks involving basic geometric skills.