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Objective. The study examines the association between music involvement and academic achievement in both childhood and adolescence using three measures of music participation: in school, outside of school, and parental involvement in the form of concert attendance.

Methods. We review prior work pertaining to music's impact on achievement and then draw from two nationally representative data sources (ECLS-K and NELS:88). Our analyses apply logistic and OLS regression techniques to assess patterns of music involvement and possible effects on math and reading performance for both elementary and high school students.

Results. Music involvement varies quite systematically by class, and gender status, and such involvement holds implications for both math and reading achievement, and for young children and adolescents. Notably, associations with achievement persist in our modeling even when prior achievement levels are accounted for. Although music does mediate some student background effects, this mediation is only minimal.

Conclusions. Music participation, both inside and outside of school, is associated with measures of academic achievement among children and adolescents. Future work should further delineate the relevant processes of music involvement, as well as how background inequalities and music involvement intersect in relation to educational performance.