How Learning a Musical Instrument Affects the Development of Skills

35 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2013

See all articles by Adrian Hille

Adrian Hille

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Jürgen Schupp

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin); Institute for Sociology, Freie Universität; The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 2013

Abstract

Despite numerous studies on skill development,we know little about the causal effects of music training on cognitive and non-cognitive skills. This study examines how long-term music training during childhood and youth affects the development of cognitive skills, school grades, personality, time use and ambition using representative data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Our findings suggest that adolescents with music training have better cognitive skills and school grades and are more conscientious, open and ambitious. These effects do not differ by socio-economic status. Music improves cognitive and non-cognitive skills more than twice as much as sports, theater or dance. In order to address the non-random selection into music training, we take into account detailed information on parents, which may determine both the decision to pursue music lessons and educational outcomes: socio-economic background, personality, involvement with the child’s school, and taste for the arts. In addition, we control for the predicted probability to give up music before age 17 as well as the adolescent’s secondary school type. We provide evidence that our results are robust to both reverse causality and the existence of partly treated individuals in the control group.

Keywords: Music, cognitive and non-cognitive skills, educational achievement, SOEP

JEL Classification: I21, J24, Z11

Suggested Citation

Hille, Adrian and Schupp, Juergen, How Learning a Musical Instrument Affects the Development of Skills (September 2013). SOEPpaper No. 591. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2338467 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2338467

Adrian Hille (Contact Author)

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

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Berlin, 10117
Germany

Juergen Schupp

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

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Germany
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HOME PAGE: http://www.diw.de/deutsch/das_institut/mitarbeiter/innen/26652.html?uid=jschupp

Institute for Sociology, Freie Universität ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.polsoz.fu-berlin.de/soziologie/mitarbeiter/b_hochschullehrer/schupp.html

The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/index_html?lang=de&mainframe=http%3A//www.iza.org/de/webcontent/personnel/fellows

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