Dalla Symphony Orchestra and University of Texas at Dallas Speech, Language and Music Lab Partner on Brain Study 

The study will investigate the positive impact of long-term and rigorous music programs on school-aged children 

Dallas, Texas (September 13, 2023) – The Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Speech, Language and Music (SLAM) Lab at the University of Texas at Dallas today announce a new study to investigate the impact of music on brain development in school-aged children. Launched this month, the study will be led by Yune S. Lee, Ph.D., co-Investigator Mandy Maguire, Ph.D., doctoral student Carole Leung and other colleagues in the SLAM Lab, and will use state-of-the-art Electroencephalography (EEG) data to explore the brain plasticity promoted by regular music engagement.

“The goal of the study is to quantify the positive impact of rigorous (7.5 hrs/week) musical training program on school-aged children,” said Dr. Lee. “In particular, we are interested in the changes in brain, cognitive, language and emotional development, which is manifested as improved academic and social outcomes.”

The study will test the hypothesis that regular music engagement enhances language and literacy skills; general intelligence and executive function; and prosocial skill/school connectedness. Fifty children from the DSO’s Kim Noltemy Young Musicians program have volunteered for the study and will participate in a year-long assessment that will involve three EEG sessions as well as cognitive, language and music tasks along with socio-emotional questionnaires. Half of the children will begin the year with visual art classes, transitioning to music studies in January. The other half will participate in music throughout the entirety of the study. At the end of the school year, Dr. Lee and his team will report the findings and determine the next steps for their work.

“We are thrilled to partner with our colleagues at UT Dallas to show the impact that music has on the brain,” said Kim Noltemy, Ross Perot President & CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. “We see the evidence every day in our current students and alumni of our education programs, and it will be fascinating to see a scientific demonstration of that impact.”

“There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the positive effects of music on the human mind and body across all ages. It is particularly important, to offer music training to children as their brain is going through critical developments,” said Dr. Lee. “Existing studies often suffer from logistical challenges such as small sample size, insufficient musical training (e.g., 1-2 hrs/week) and lack of an active control group. Here in Dallas, we can overcome those logistic obstacles through the already existing Young Musicians program at the DSO and hopefully share that the impact of music on children is consequential and that those skills can last forever.”

The University of Texas at Dallas, home to more than 31,000 students, is an innovative institution in the heart of North Texas. UT Dallas offers rigorous academic programs with curricula serving a variety of undergraduate and graduate student interests. With seven schools offering 146 academic programs, UTD also offers professional certificates and fast-track programs. UTD is classified as a Carnegie R1 doctoral institution of very high research activity with top-ranked programs in STEM, management, liberal arts and social sciences majors.

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, under the leadership of Music Director Fabio Luisi, presents more than 150 orchestra concerts at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, one of the world’s top-rated concert halls. As the largest performing arts organization in the Southwest, the DSO is committed to inspiring the broadest possible audience with distinctive classical programs, inventive pops concerts and innovative multi-media presentations. As part of its commitment to the community, the orchestra reaches hundreds of thousands of adults and children annually through performances, educational programs and community outreach initiatives. The orchestra also offers more than 200 concerts in neighborhoods throughout Dallas each year, as well as music lessons to more than 900 students as part of its Young Strings and Kim Noltemy Young Musicians programs.

La DSO tiene una tradición que se remonta a 1900 y es una piedra angular del exclusivo distrito artístico de 118 acres del centro de Dallas, que alberga múltiples salas de artes escénicas, museos y parques, el mayor distrito de este tipo en el país. La DSO se financia, en parte, con fondos de la Oficina de Arte y Cultura de la ciudad de Dallas.

Contacto con los medios de comunicación:

Denise McGovern | Vicepresidenta de Comunicación y Medios | Orquesta Sinfónica de Dallas
d.mcgovern@dalsym.com | 214.718.7094