Why Music Education?
Based off a 2004 study by the Dana Arts and Cognition Consortium, the following conclusions further solidified the correlation between arts study and improved cognition:
How does music help past public education?·
The arts reach students not normally reached, in ways and methods not normally used, which expands problem solving skills needed later in life.
· It changes the learning environment to one of discovery. (This often re-ignites the love of learning in students tired of just being fed facts. This can continue on into higher education.)
· Students connect with each other better. (This often results in more productive social interactions and building confidence in social settings.)
· The arts provide challenges to students of all levels. (Which carries through to understanding and facing challenges as an adult.)
· Students learn to become sustained, self-directed learners. (The student does not just become an outlet for stored facts from direct instruction, but seeks to extend instruction to higher levels of proficiency. This helps greatly with higher education and general trade school skills.)
· The study of the fine arts positively impacts the learning of students of lower socioeconomic status as much or more than those of a higher socioeconomic status. (Twenty-one percent of students of low socioeconomic status who had studied music scored higher in math versus just eleven percent of those who had not. By the senior year, these figures grew to 33 percent and 16 percent, respectively, suggesting a cumulative value to music education.)
-Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning (Fiske, 1999)
Music majors are the most likely group of college grads to be admitted to medical school. Physician and biologist Lewis Thomas studied the undergraduate majors of medical school applicants. He found that 66 percent of music majors who applied to med school were admitted, the highest percentage of any group. For comparison, (44 percent) of biochemistry majors were admitted. Also, a study of 7,500 university students revealed that music majors scored the highest reading scores among all majors including English, biology, chemistry and math.
Sources: "The Comparative Academic Abilities of Students in Education and in Other Areas of a Multi-focus University," Peter H. Wood
How Can I Help?
The easiest way to be an advocate is what you are doing now! Be involved in local music programs, community groups, and professional groups. Advocate with administrators, teachers, fellow parents, and elected leadership.
“Music as an art continues to receive minimal attention in those schools where it exists largely for its entertainment and public relation values. School administrators who use musical programs primarily for these purposes…deserve to be chided for their neglect of educational responsibility.” – Kohut in Instrumental Music Pedagogy
Attend local music events beyond high school and junior high performances. The best way to make something a priority is create a demand for it. Participation is key!
“…Music is unique among the arts in lending itself to group participation… Thus, Music fits into the scheme of education more neatly than any other form of artistic endeavor and must perforce carry the aesthetic education in all organized general education. Herein lies a major case for inclusion of music in general education.” – Charles Leonhard and Robert House, Foundations and Principles of Music Education
Educate yourself on the lasting effects of Fine Arts education in our public schools. There are many sources of information out there, but here are a few to get started:
Local performing ensembles
Advocacy also means participation! Attend a concert of one of these spectacular groups!
The Lone Star Symphonic Band
Katy Youth Symphony
Woodlands Concert Band
Houston Brass Band
Encourage your children to continue music beyond their education:
“[Humans are] unique among all earthly living creatures in the extent and quality of his [her] potential. [We] have physical, intellectual, ethical, and aesthetic potentials. If any aspect of [our] potential is neglected and underdeveloped, [we] never attain [our] true stature as a human being.” – Charles Leonhard and Robert House, Foundations and Principles of Music Education
Share your experience! If band has had a lasting effect on you or your child’s life, let us and the world know!
Thank you for reading!