MTNA 2021

2021 MTNA Virtual Conference
March 13 – 17, 2021


Does Music Really Make You Smarter?

If you have questions about any of the information below or from the online presentation, please feel free to contact me:
Lois Svard

Spatial-temporal reasoning

Rauscher, F. , et al. (1993).  Music and spatial task performance.  Nature 365:611.  You would either need to buy access or have access through your university’s data base.  But the following article is actually a talk Rauscher gave a year later on this study plus a pilot study that suggested that music training for 3-year olds provided long-term enhancements of nonverbal cognitive abillities.

Rauscher, et al. (1994). Music and spatial task performance: a causal relationship. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association.

The Science of Spatial-Temporal Mathematics

A sample of a spatial-reasoning test

Math and Music

Math and Music page on the American Mathematical Society website.  This page is full of links to extremely interesting videos, podcasts, and articles about the relationship of music and math.  I particularly recommend the videos by David Kung on “Symphonic Equations” and Natalya St. Clair on “The Genius of Beethoven.”  The Beethoven video is clearly not the way in which a musician thinks about the Moonlight Sonata, but the way in which a mathematician does.

Music, speech processing, and language

Brainvolts, the Auditory Neuroscience Lab at Northwestern University, director Nina Kraus, is the most comprehensive and understandable website I have seen from a research lab.  It contains short slide presentations for each of their research areas, links to virtually every publication that has come out of the lab, and videos of Nina Kraus speaking at a variety of events, including the NAMM Foundation Grand Rally for Music Education featuring Dr. Nina Kraus and Renée Fleming (2021), Renee Fleming’s Music and the Mind Live with Nina Kraus (2020), and Sound Health (2018)  Say it with Rhythm! A Performance Demo with Dr. Nina Kraus,  featuring Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain.  From the home page, click on the Music box, and then on the  Music and Rhythm slide shows to see more about the lab’s work.

In my talk, I mentioned a 40,000 year old flute.  If you would like to hear what it sounds like, this video shows Wulf Hein, an archaeologist who does reconstructions of prehistoric artifacts, playing a reconstruction of a flute found at Giessenklosterle, Germany.

Harmony Project, the non-profit started by Margaret Martin in LA that provides free lessons, instruments, mentoring, and ensemble experience to children from low-income neighborhoods.  Harmony Project has been wildly successful and was the basis for important research by Nina Kraus’s lab.


On the NAMM Foundation (National Association of Music Merchants) website, you can access an exhaustive downloadable list of “Music Research Facts and Quotes” supporting music education.  The list was compiled to provide music advocacy resources and lists research by age group from toddler to seniors, gives a short description of the research, and lists the source.  It was last updated in March of 2018 so doesn’t contain the latest research, but contains a wealth of information nonetheless.

I mentioned that 54% of American adults lack proficiency in literacy, reading below a 6th grade level. This comes from the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. The article can be found here.