Importance of music education in public schools

Importance of music education in public schools

As an educator, it is our responsibility to care for the skills and abilities they need to be balanced and productive members of society. While mastery of basic subjects such as reading and writing is mathematics and science, of course, necessary to achieve this goal, many so-called extra-educated subjects - especially music - are also important in this work. For its many concrete benefits, music should be maintained and promoted as an essential part of elementary school.

For centuries music had been considered an irreplaceable part of proper education. Early Universities taught it as one of the quadrivium or four important pillars of education. Albert Einstein himself was a skilled musician and often attributed his discoveries in physics to the musical training he received. [1] Modern education policy, however, has often marginalized music education into a luxurious and expensive extras program that is often cut when negative budget issues are met. Educational administrators often think music education is a misguided effort to channel students into a career in music or at best an expensive playing time that does little for their education development.

If only those administrators could learn the incredible benefits of music education on students, they can change. Previous studies have shown that youth music education provides greater observable physical development in the brain [2] and an average of 27% higher maths, [3] 57 points higher SAT scores [4] and a 46% increase in IQ scores. [5] In addition to these documented benefits of intelligence, music education has been shown to improve learning in all other subjects by improving their study ability, receptivity to education, social and emotional development. Students who attend school or orchestra also experience the lowest level of gang activity and addiction. Most importantly, the cognitive and behavioral benefits of music education prove to affect all students, regardless of their ethnicity, risk level or socioeconomic background. [6]

These results alone should ensure that a robust music program is introduced in every elementary school, but the benefits do not end there. Youth music education has proved to be a reliable predictor of success in university and professional life. It has been reported that about 22% more musicians are employed in medical schools than any other majority [7] and that the very best engineers and technical designers in the Silicon Valley industry practically practice musicians. [8]

My parents picked up six boys and one girl, who all participated heavily in music at their elementary schools and colleges. While I was the only one who became a professional musician and music teacher, all my siblings have gone on to successful careers, including three doctors, an architect and an engineer. I feel very guilty of the many music teachers who taught my family and me and are sad to hear that the opportunities we received were not always available to children. I have made it my personal challenge as a music teacher and director of driving to individually reach all my students and introduce them skills and appreciation of music that brings such joy to my own life. As a college teacher I find great follow-up and know that the skills I teach them in music classes and ensembles not only make it possible for a lifelong interest but also helps them in many other important areas of their lives and contributes to their success in life.

The great violin teacher said the purpose of [music] education is to train children, not to be professional musicians without being good musicians and showing high ability in any other field they come in. [9] My experience has taught that music education uniquely improves learning and prepares children for successful lives. Together with all the other subjects taught in elementary school and high school, I hope I can bring the music world into as many children's lives as I can. Then I know that I will make our society a little better by making a big difference in their lives.


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