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Scientists just discovered an amazing benefit to giving kids music lessons

来源:中国日报    2018-06-29 09:00

        Giving children music lessons won't just introduce them to a world of rhythm and melody – it could also significantly improve their language skills.        让孩子上音乐课不仅会将他们引入旋律的世界,而且还会显著提升他们的语言技能。
        While numerous studies have shown that learning an instrument can impact things like language ability, it wasn't understood if this was a side effect of a general boost to cognitive skills, or something that directly affected language processing.        尽管已有许多研究显示,学习乐器能影响语言能力,但科学家不清楚语言能力的提高是认知能力普遍提高的附带效果,还是说学乐器能直接影响语言处理能力。
        Now, we are getting closer to an answer, thanks to a study of 74 Chinese kindergarten children, led by neuroscientist Robert Desimone from MIT.        如今,得益于麻省理工学院的神经系统科学家罗伯特•德西蒙的一项调查研究,我们离答案又近了一步。 该研究涵盖了中国幼儿园的74名儿童。
        "The children didn't differ in the more broad cognitive measures, but they did show some improvements in word discrimination, particularly for consonants," explains Desimone.        德西解释说:“学乐器的孩子和其他孩子在广义的认知能力上没有差别,但他们确实在辨字尤其是辨认声母这方面更胜一筹。
        "The piano group showed the best improvement there."        “学钢琴的小孩在这方面的优势最明显。”
        For the study, Desimone's team – including MIT scientists and researchers from Beijing Normal University – recruited children from the Chinese education system, with the support of education officials who wanted to see how music learning might boost their academic results.        德西蒙的团队包括来自麻省理工学院的科学家和来自北京师范大学的研究人员。为了开展这项研究,该团队在中国教育部门官员的支持下,从中国教育系统中招募了一些儿童作为研究对象。这些官员想知道学音乐是如何能提高学业成绩的。
        The 4- to 5-year-old Mandarin-speaking children in the study were randomly divided into three groups. One group received a 45-minute piano lesson three times a week, while another received extra reading instruction classes. The third group acted as controls, taking no extra lessons beyond their usual routine.        在这项研究中,母语为汉语的4到5岁的幼童被随机分为三组。一组孩子每周上三次钢琴课,每次45分钟,另一组孩子上额外的阅读课。第三组是对照组,在日常课程外不再上其他课。
        The classes lasted for six months, after which the children were tested on their ability to discriminate words based on differences in tone, consonants, or vowels.        上了六个月的课以后,研究人员就辨别字的声调、声母和韵母的能力对幼童进行了测试。
        The test results showed that the children who had taken piano lessons performed significantly better at discriminating between words that differ by a single consonant, when compared against the children who took extra reading lessons.        测试结果显示,上过钢琴课的孩子在辨别声母不同的汉字上明显优于上过阅读课的孩子。
        Compared to the control group, both the music learners and the extra reading group did better in terms of discriminating words based on vowel differences.        与此同时,学音乐的孩子和上额外阅读课的孩子在辨别韵母不同的汉字上都优于对照组的孩子。
        To get a sense of why these differences might be occurring, the researchers measured the children's brain activity via electroencephalography (EEG) and found the piano group exhibited greater sensitivity to tonal changes when tones were played to them at different pitches.        为了弄清这些差异产生的原因,研究人员通过脑电图观测了孩子的脑活动,发现在收听抑扬顿挫的朗读时,钢琴组的孩子对声调变化更敏感。
        The thinking goes, the exposure to music lessons helped develop this tonal sensitivity, which in part explains their better verbal word discrimination.        研究人员认为,这说明上音乐课有助于培养对声调的敏感性,这也是音乐组孩子辨别字音的能力更强的部分原因。
        "That's a big thing for kids in learning language: being able to hear the differences between words," Desimone says. "They really did benefit from that."        德西蒙说:“辨别字音——能够听出字与字之间的差别——对于孩子学语言很重要。更强的辨音能力确实能让孩子受益。”
        Perhaps more importantly, results of IQ, attention, and working memory among the three groups didn't show any significant differences, suggesting that the boost given by music instruction isn't a general cognitive lift, but something specific to language (and perhaps the tone-based elements of it).        或许更重要的发现是,三组孩子的智商、注意力和工作记忆水平都没有表现出任何明显的差别,这意味着音乐课不能带来认知能力的全面提高,而是仅限于语言能力或声调辨别能力的提高。
        Of course, we're only looking at a fairly small sample of kids here, and all of them were from a Mandarin-speaking background. Given Mandarin's reliance on tonal differentiation, the researchers acknowledge that might have influenced the results.        当然,研究人员只调查了一小部分儿童,而且所有这些儿童的语言环境都是中文(普通话)。考虑到学习中文和声调辨认息息相关,研究人员承认这也许会影响到研究结果。
        But it's also worth emphasising that the musical education helped these children outperform their peers in language tests – even beyond the results of kids who took extra reading classes, which is something that should make educators pay close attention.        不过值得强调的是,学音乐帮助这些孩子在语言测试中胜出,甚至超过了那些上额外阅读课的孩子,这是教育者应该密切关注的事实。
        "It looks like for recognising differences between sounds, including speech sounds, it's better than extra reading. That means schools could invest in music and there will be generalisation to speech sounds," Desimone says.        德西蒙说:“这说明,要更好地辨别声音的差异,包括语言发音的不同,学钢琴比额外的阅读更有效。这意味着学校可以更重视音乐课,以普遍提高孩子的辨音能力。”
        "It's not worse than giving extra reading to the kids, which is probably what many schools are tempted to do – get rid of the arts education and just have more reading."        “许多学校可能正试图多上阅读课、少上或不上艺术课,其实上音乐课并不比上阅读课外班的效果更差。”
        The findings are reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.        该研究结果发表在《美国国家科学院院刊》上。

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