Shakespeare said music was the food of love. Meanwhile, more and more experts are talking these days about the benefits of music as food for the brain. A study published by the University of Toronto last month claimed the intelligence quotient (IQ) of six-year-olds could be boosted by regular exposure to music. It said children who had weekly piano or singing lessons notched up a seven-point increase in their IQ in one year - 2.7 points more than their untrained peers. And music is not the only arts subject believed to boost brain power. Other studies claim that art, dance and drama also help by motivating children and improving their aptitude for learning - even in subjects like mathematics and history. The research comes as no surprise to Michelle Liu Schei-won, founder and chief educator of My Musikbox in Causeway Bay ( www.mymusikbox.com ). 'Music is very important,' she said. 'It can help children develop both fine and gross motor skills. It also helps to relieve stress. And playing together and sharing instruments enhances their social and communication skills.' Ms Liu said the aim of the school was to get children interested in music quickly. It offers a wide range of arts and music classes, including African drum classes and a new percussion course called 'Stomp' for children under eight years old. 'Our mission is to get children to fall in love with music before they start to learn to play an instrument. That way, learning to play will be something they want to do and not something their parents want them to do,' Ms Liu said. The Jean M Wong School of Ballet ( www.jmwballet.org ) adopts a similar philosophy, saying the benefits of the arts go far beyond simply learning to dance. The school, established in 1960, lays claim to having produced some of Hong Kong's best known dance stars. 'Dance is a great way to improve posture and health. It can also help to build a child's confidence and improve self-esteem,' said a spokesperson. The school has about 2,000 students in six centres that offer classes in classical ballet, jazz, hip-hop and Chinese dance. It also has an art school, JMW for Arts, with classes ranging from drawing to Chinese calligraphy.