Adult musicians tend to outperform nonmusicians in a variety of language and language-relevant tasks. Moreover, children who take music lessons will show an increased ability in several types of language skills. However, it is still unclear what the time course of these developmental effects might be, and the degree to which young children improve in their musical abilities. Here, we present the first year of data from an ongoing longitudinal study, aimed at finding if measurable improvements in musical and linguistic abilities can be seen among children taking music classes. We studied 90 children (age 3–6) who were enrolled to take group classes in a conservatory setting. We measured their musical, language, and perceptual abilities both at the beginning and the ending of the school year. Pre vs. post comparisons showed an increase in vocabulary size, pre-reading skills, and singing ability; these increases were beyond what could be attributed to normal development during the time. We also found that singing ability was correlated with language skills. Taken together, these results show that early childhood music training can lead to associated improvements in both musical skills and language skills, strengthening the evidence for a developmental link between these two abilities.

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