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The benefits of a musical education are frequently in the press, and we are very pleased that Canford is taking part in a major national study being done by Goldsmiths, University of London. Their research began a couple of years ago in one school, and Canford is one of a small number of schools which has now joined the project. A recent article in the Times speaks of how the research has already found that there are links between a pupil's musical education and their broader academic studies. One of our Shell classes has just completed a pilot study, and the whole Shell year group is going to participating in the online tests as part of our internal exam week. The researchers at Goldsmiths will use the data from Canford further to inform their understanding of the effects of musical learning on the brain, and will also give us feedback on the data that is particular to Canford. All of the research is, of course, conducted anonymously - so individual pupil data is not known, simply trends across the year group.
The lead researcher from Goldsmiths, Daniel Mullensiefen, commented:
“The entire research team at Goldsmiths is thrilled that Canford School has signed up to our study this year. Canford has a great cohort of pupils and a really strong interest in scientific research and the opportunities that arise from evidence-based educational policy. The support we have been receiving from Canford so far has been incredible and the initial results from the pilot we ran on site some weeks are very encouraging and point towards a strong relationship between musical activities and skills as well as overall effort and achievement. We’re very much looking forward to seeing the results from the first complete wave of testing at Canford in June.”
Many of our pupil musicians enjoy taking part in our concerts and learning their instruments. The sheer pleasure and intrinsic educational benefit of cultural and musical activity must not be ignored. However, if musical learning can have a broader benefit in other academic areas then it is something we will be doubly pleased to hear.
Reporting by Christopher Sparkhall – Director of Music