Marguerite Nering





Marguerite's Definitive Music & Intelligence Research

In cutting-edge research Dr. Marguerite Nering established that Music Instruction increases I.Q. She substantiated that children who take piano and music lessons perform better in non-musical intelligence areas than those who do not take music lessons. (It goes without saying that they perform better in musical areas than those who do not take lessons.) While past research has shown a correlation between music study and increased intelligence, critics still question whether music lessons actually caused the increase. They question whether increases may be due to socioeconomic conditions or perhaps because smarter children study music. Nering’s study is believed to be the first research to definitively show that music training does increase intelligence.


Using ten sets of young identical twins from Calgary (for her U Hawaii doctoral study), Nering gave intensive piano and general music instruction to one of each set. Twins were aged 3 to 7. After the lessons the Experimental group achieved significantly higher IQ scores than their Control counterparts, whereas before the lessons the twins achieved much the same as their co-twin.


After a period of approximately one year of lessons, the Experimental twins outdistanced the Controls in such higher thinking areas as Comprehension, Information Processing, and dramatically in Mathematics (probability was highly statistically significant). General IQ of Experimental twins jumped an average of 4.1 I.Q. points over Control twins.

Marguerite says “If you want your children to perform better in school than they normally would, this study would certainly indicate that music lessons are the answer." Because of the significance of her findings, Nering received the Dissertation Research Achievement Reward, for all the University of Hawaii at Manoa for that year.


Dr. Barbara McLain, Professor of Music at the University of Hawaii states “Rarely in the social sciences do we find research that has the potential to “shake the planet.” Dr. Nering’s monumental study should do just that." McLain adds: "This research has the potential to impact every culture and educational system.  It is the first research to conclusively establish that music improves intelligence. Her pretest-posttest design is exceptional and the first of its kind to manipulate the environment of monozygotic (identical) twins, the most equal population possible, concerning music education."


Dr. Arthur Harvey, world-renown authority on Music and the Brain remarks, “Marguerite has provided an exceptional contribution to the literature of the field and to all education in general. Her study is the first such study documenting the causal impact of music instruction upon intelligence of children. She used monozygotic twins who provide the highest level of control possible.” (Marguerite studied under Dr. Harvey for several years.)

Marguerite's Significant Perfect Pitch Research

Using almost all the Faculty of Music students at the University of Calgary, Marguerite was able to prove that Perfect Pitch is an acquired ability, and that with training young adults can vastly improve their pitch discrimination.  Some  can even attain perfect pitch.


For her study  she used the David Burge Perfect Pitch course. About half the students--the Experimental-- received Burge perfect pitch training from Marguerite, while the other half (the Controls) received regular course ear training.


The pitch accuracy of those who received perfect pitch training rose dramatically with  some even attaining Perfect Pitch, while that of the Control students  remained the same, not improving

Since Music is a hearing art, Perfect Pitch, also known as  Absolute Pitch, is a valuable asset to musicians and Marguerite's research proves that it is an acquired ability. Many believe that one must be born with it, and while some seemingly are, they too have to acquire it. Everyone's pitch discrimination can improve with training but as with any subject, some improve at a much faster rate than others.  There are several levels of Perfect Pitch attainment.


It is Marguerite's opinion that since  music is a hearing art, and since pitch training improves musicality, pitch accuracy studies should be a part of every music ear-training curriculum. This is rarely the case.  Music students should be taught to  listen to and identify sound.