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They discovered [musical children] performed better than [non-musical children] in mathematical skills

Here, "musical children" means children with musical training.

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    Can you give a more detailed explanation of what is meant by "musical" here? Is it children with musical training, or children with a natural inclination to music, or something else?
    – Alan T.
    Oct 22 '18 at 11:53
  • yes, sorry it is children with musical training.
    – user321170
    Oct 22 '18 at 11:55
  • 'They discovered musical children performed better than non-musical children' ? Oct 22 '18 at 12:00
  • musical children outperformed non-musical children in mathematical skills
    – user321170
    Oct 22 '18 at 12:01
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    "They discovered children with musical training outperformed those without". That's both concise and precise. Sorry, but I really object to describing someone as "musical" because they have musical training. "Artistic" people do not necessarily have artistic training. You can create art and music without training. Similarly, you can have musical training but be inherently unmusical.
    – Pam
    Oct 22 '18 at 13:11
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The study found that musically-inclined children perform better at many tasks than other children, even outside of musical or creative endeavors.

In formal writing, it's often considered poor form to specify a lack of a qualifier. As such, "non-musical" children isn't as acceptable as simply labeling the musically inclined or musically talented children, and using the other bucket to denote children who do not fall into that category.

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  • Accurate and tactful. Nicely put. Oct 23 '18 at 14:40
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The common way of saying someone has a deficiency in a particular endeavor is to say they are "challenged". You can use it in anything. Musically challenged. Or, you could say they are non-musical as those said in the comments.

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  • This isn’t formal (which is what op asked for)
    – Laurel
    Oct 22 '18 at 15:12

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