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School Life Quality Improved by Music Lessons, Study Finds

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According to a new study in Music Education Research, student satisfaction in ten Finnish schools increased significantly for students taking regular music classes. In the study, nearly a thousand pupils extended music classes and comparison classes participated in a survey that measured the “quality of school life” at years three and six. The study named the following as factors to quality of life: general satisfaction, opportunities and achievement, identity in the class, and classroom climate. There were no differences between the groups at year three, which suggests that a particular factor affects pupils’ attitudes during the primary school years. The studies’ authors’ suggested that the likely explanation is the amount of music lessons which was four hours per week for the extended music classes and one lesson per week for the normal classes. “Singing in a choir and ensemble performance are popular activities at extended music classes. Other studies have established that people find it very satisfying to synchronize with one another. That increases affiliation within the group and may even make people like each other more than before. Other subjects in the school do not have as intensive training in synchrony and coordination as music lessons, which could explain part of the phenomenon,” says Doctoral Student Päivi-Sisko Eerola, the principal investigator of the study at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

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