The ability to empathize.
In a year-long program focused on group music-making, 8- to 11-year old children became markedly more compassionate, according to a just-published study from the University of Cambridge. The finding suggests kids who make music together aren’t just having fun: they’re absorbing a key component of emotional intelligence.
The research team, led by Tal-Chen Rabinowitchof the university’s Centre for Music and Science, studied 52 girls and boys. The kids, chosen from four British schools, were randomly assigned to either a music group, or one of two control groups.
The kids in the music group joined weekly hour-long sessions where they played specially designed musical games. Some of the games encouraged the young musicians to get “as rhythmically coordinated as possible,” while others promoted the idea of “shared intentionality” — say, by having kids compose music together.