Washington D.C., November 15: It seems like an individual’s smartness plays a major role when it comes to learning music, suggests a study that investigated the early stages of learning to play the piano. A Michigan State University study published in the journal Intelligence could be the first to examine the relationship between intelligence, music aptitude and growth mindset in beginner pianists.
A growth mindset refers to whether students believe they can improve basic abilities, like piano ability.”The strongest predictor of skill acquisition was intelligence, followed by music aptitude,” said Alexander Burgoyne, a doctoral candidate in cognition and cognitive neuroscience. “By contrast, the correlation between growth mindset and piano performance was about as close to zero as possible,” added Burgoyne.
In the study, 161 undergraduates were taught how to play “Happy Birthday” on the piano with the help of a video guide. After practice, the students performed the 25-note song multiple times. Three MSU graduate students judged the performances based on their melodic and rhythmic accuracy.There were striking differences in the students’ skill acquisition trajectories. Music May Reduce Cardiac Stress While Driving: Study.
Some learned quickly, earning perfect marks within six minutes of practice.Others performed poorly at first but improved substantially later. By comparison, some seemed to fade as if they had lost their motivation and others never figured it out, performing poorly throughout the study.