Music teachers may be helping their pupils develop a heightened sense of empathy, new research suggests.
According to a study by Cambridge University, taking part in regular group music sessions could help raise children's ability to recognise emotions and empathise with their peers.
Over the course of a year, researchers from the university assessed the empathy skills of pupils who had been taking part in music games against those who had not.
To carry out the study, researchers took a group of 52 children aged between eight and 11 and divided them into three groups, with one of them visiting the Centre for Music and Science at Cambridge University once a week to take part in a range of music-based activities.
At the end of the year, researchers found that those who had taken part in the group music lessons achieved higher scores in emotion recognition tests.
Tal-Chen Rabinowitch, who led the study at the Centre for Music and Science, said: "These results bear out our hypothesis that certain components of musical interaction may enhance a capacity for emotional empathy, which continues outside the musical context."
Earlier this year, the government announced funding worth £82.5 million for music education services across England.
Posted by Harriet McGowan