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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a composition program, Composers in Public Schools (CiPS), on cognitive skills essential for academic success. The underlying hypothesis is that composition instruction will promote creative expression and increase performance on music-specific skills such as music reading, as well as foster general analytical/aural skill development associated with vocabulary, arithmetic, and processing speed abilities. Two sixth-grade classes assigned to the experimental (n = 15) and control (n = 13) groups completed a series of standardized neuropsychological and cognitive assessments pre and post-instruction. Results of a Repeated Measures ANOVA (Group X Time) indicate significant (p < .05) enhancements in arithmetic performance by the CiPS group compared to controls. These results suggest that creative experiences with musical notational symbols, sequence creation, and analytical compositional concepts may broadly impact student performance in subject areas depending upon analysis and symbolic manipulation such as arithmetic.

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