The Relationship Between Music Perception and Reading Skills in Children

  • Jenna Rimstad MacEwan University


Research suggests that music perception and reading skills rely on some of the same underlying mechanisms, such as good auditory perception and working memory. However, it is unclear whether associations between music perception skills and reading skills remain after controlling for potential confounds (e.g., general intelligence), and whether they are limited to certain aspects of music perception (e.g., beat perception) or extend more generally to other aspects (e.g., pitch perception). As such, we plan to examine the specificity of the association between music perception skills and reading abilities in school-aged children. Children will complete 1) the Beat Alignment Test, which examines the ability to detect whether a superimposed beat is aligned with the beat of a musical excerpt, 2) the Profile of Music Perception Skills, which examines the ability to decipher if two musical excerpts are the same or different, 3) the Wide Range Achievement Test, which examines word decoding, sentence comprehension, and spelling abilities, and 4) the Peabody Picture Vocabulary test, which measures receptive vocabulary and provides an estimate of IQ. We predict that performance on the music tasks will correlate with performance on the reading tasks, such as word decoding, even after controlling for receptive vocabulary. This research may provide further evidence for the importance of musical perception in reading abilities. Training music perception skills could be beneficial for young children beginning to read, as well as children with reading disabilities.

Discipline: Psychology Honours

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kathleen Corrigall