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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02244

An Investigation into the Relationship Between Onset Age of Musical Lessons and Levels of Sociability in Childhood

  • 1YAMAHA Music Foundation, Japan
  • 2Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University, Japan
  • 3YAMAHA CORPORATION, Japan
  • 4J. F. Oberlin University, Japan

Previous studies have suggested that musical training in childhood is beneficial for sociability. However, it remains unclear how age of onset of group music lessons is associated with the late sociability of children from a long-term perspective. This study investigated associations between group music lessons conducted at a music school and children’s levels of sociability by focusing on the age of onset of the lessons. We conducted a survey of 276 children aged 4–5 years (M = 58.5 months) and 6–7 years (M = 82.7 months) who commenced music lessons at ages 1, 2, 4, and 6 years. We found that (1) the empathy scores of children aged 6–7 years who began lessons when 1-year-old were greater than those who began lessons when 4-years-old, (2) the communication scores of children aged 4–5 years who began lessons when 1-year-old were greater than those who began lessons when older than 1 year, and (3) the empathy and extraversion scores were high in those aged 6–7 years who began lessons in that age range. The results suggest that early onset of music lessons could positively influence children’s sociability; in contrast, after about age 7 years, children who already had high sociability may be more inclined to select group music lessons. By focusing on the impact of regular group music lessons from a very young age on later levels of sociability, these results further elucidate the effects of musical lessons. In sum, participation in group music lessons 2–4 times per month can be effective social training for very young children and foster their later sociability.

Keywords: group music lesson, Empathy, Social Skills, joint music activity, Infant, sociability

Received: 26 Jul 2018; Accepted: 29 Oct 2018.

Edited by:

Graham F. Welch, UCL Institute of Education, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Elaine C. King, University of Hull, United Kingdom
Ioulia Papageorgi, University of Nicosia, Cyprus  

Copyright: © 2018 Kawase, OGAWA, Obata and Hirano. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Satoshi Kawase, YAMAHA Music Foundation, Tokyo, Japan, satoshikawase.psy@gmail.com