A school in southwest Iowa has launched a first-in-the-nation project that aims to see if piano lessons improve students math abilities. The chief of West Harrison schools in Mondamin (mon-DAY-min) says it’s based on research that finds exposing a young child to music can enhance brain development.Larry Molacek is superintendant of the K-12 school. He says kindergarten through 3rd graders are being given two 20-minute “keyboarding” lessons each week. Molacek says some people have been criticizing the program as a waste of time, but he’s unphased. He says if it works then it can help students succeed.The district invested about six-thousand dollars in the project, most of which is in the cost of 19 keyboards. While Molacek admits the piano lessons may not effect students’ math abilities, he says it’s worth it to try this experiment, as it could bring about a revolution in schooling.Molacek says a study by the University of California at Irvine found children who received basic piano instruction scored an average of 34 percent higher on reasoning skills tests than kids who got computer or singing lessons.
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