I have spoken for years on how music can help learning and reduce stress while learning even if you have ADHD, LD, ASD, or are developmentally disabled. The diagnosis doesn't matter. Music impacts all learners. Some music makes it easier to learn. The following is by Leigh Marcos. She is specifically writing about how specific music helps or hinders test scores.
By: Leigh Marcos
No matter your background, music can represent your life, inform it, or inspire it. Throughout human history music and song, not necessarily together, have been a vital part of life and education. Stories and histories were passed on down orally for generations before being written down. This is why we have Homer’s Iliad or Beowulf in relatively modern versions quite distinct from the originals - or so we believe.
Researchers at Ledgernote.com have scoured decades of academic research, surveys, and collegiate reports to determine whether music is important to SAT scores - the benchmark for American high school education. Turns out music is very important, but more than that the type of music and the particular artist is even more important. This is also vital for special needs education, which has recognized for a long time that music is important in spurring children with extra requirements on.
All About the Beethoven
These collated reports cover mainstream students across the U.S., but similar reports in other countries have suggested similar results. The collected results have shown that listening to Beethoven is the best possible spur for good test results. Fans of Beethoven averaged 1371/1500 for SAT scores which is the best total by far. Other good performing artists included Radiohead, Bob Dylan, Ben Folds, and Norah Jones. However, at the other end of the scale we have Jay Z (970), Beyonce (932), and Lil Wayne (889). With the U.S. average being 1070, these artists are not good for your scores.
It also goes beyond actual artists to look at genres as a whole. Here there are some remarkable results even if most genres straddle the 1070 average. These results cover top and bottom ranges rather than the average scores listed for individual artists and groups. The above artists might lead you to believe that R&B, soul, rap and pop are not so hot, but they’re ok. So sure, they are on the below average side with more listeners being under 1070 than over it, but the worst performing one by far is punk. It is the only genre measured where no one gets the average.
On the flip side, while Classical music we would assume is the top one - it’s not actually listed, genres that perform well above average include Alt/Indie, rock, blues, Jazz, and folk. Other types of music like metal and bluegrass sit on the fence, while others including the above mentioned R&B, Soul, rap, and pop along with country, latin, and electronic are generally below average.
Choosing the Right Music to Inspire Special Needs Children
Picking the correct music to help draw greater results from special needs children is a delicate matter. However, while there’s no doubting the inspirational quality of classical music, in an environment where test results are less important, it is about creating the right emotions, motivations and feelings for education whether it is the child’s favorite type of music or a simple song which they can engage with and understand the words.