Psychological Studies

, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 164–170 | Cite as

Music Training and Second-Language English Comprehension and Vocabulary Skills in Indian Children

  • Swathi SwaminathanEmail author
  • Jini K. Gopinath


This study examined the second-language (L2) English abilities of musically trained and untrained primary school children. Participants were tested on the verbal subscales of the Malin’s Intelligence Scale for Indian Children (MISIC) and an English word-reading test. The musically trained participants performed significantly better on the tests of comprehension and vocabulary. This result is in line with the view that music and language share processing resources, as a result of which transfer of learning takes place. When the scores of participants with Indian Classical music training were compared with the scores of the untrained group, the comprehension and vocabulary advantage persisted, indicating that the L2 advantage was not simply an artefact of increased language familiarity that is likely to arise from Western music training.


Music training Music Child language Second language Vocabulary Comprehension Cognitive transfer 



We thank Shitika Chowdhary, Angela Joseph, Nisha Rao, Raisa Romer and Soumya Tharien for assistance with data collection; the schools, parents and children for their participation; and Sumathi Swaminathan and Miriam Ittyerah for helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyChrist UniversityBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TorontoMississaugaCanada

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