In early childhood, regular music and dance/movement engagement has been proven to have positive social development outcomes for toddlers.
…BUT the effects cannot always be isolated from the social component - in other words, we don’t know how much of the impact is due to the artistic activity and how much is due to the social aspect of the activity.
…AND we need more research into variations between active vs passive participation, and long-term effects and variability of interventions. For example:
6-year old children who took music lessons in voice or keyboard saw little improvement in social skills over a year
Children who participated in drama-based education program saw decreases in disruptive behaviour and improvements in self-regulatory behaviours, but no significant changes in pro-social behaviour over the course of a year
S. Tsegaye et al (2016) Everything We Know About Whether and How the Arts Improve Lives, Createquity.
G. Crossick & P. Kaszynska (2016) Understanding the value of arts & culture: The AHRC cultural value project, London: Arts & Humanities Research Council.
M. Menzer (2015) The arts in early childhood: social and emotional benefits of arts participation,Washington DC: National Endowment for the Arts.
L. Hetland & E. Winner (2001) “The Arts and Academic Achievement: What the Evidence Shows”, Arts Education Policy Review102(5): 3-6.