HT Opinion: Music education yields benefits in public schools

Music education yields benefits in public schools

Bloomington Herald-Times
December 20, 2011

This guest column was submitted by Kristina La Marca, president of the Indiana University chapter of the National Association for Music Education.

This guest column was submitted by Kristina La Marca, president of the Indiana University chapter of the National Association for Music Education.

Musical experience is an essential aspect of our shared humanity — individually, locally, nationally and globally. Music and all of the roles that it plays in our everyday activities is a vital component of the lives of all people. It is essential that we continue to provide our children with opportunities to develop their unique musical potentials.

Did you know?

Music can help students develop “21st century skills” essential for thriving in today’s global economy: effective communication and collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, and creativity and innovation (Hamann, Bourassa, & Aderman, 1991).

Schools that have music programs have significantly higher graduation rates than do those without programs (90.2 percent as compared to 72.9 percent). In addition, those that rate their programs as “excellent” or “very good” have an even higher graduation rate (90.9 percent). Schools that have music programs have significantly higher attendance rates than do those without programs (93.3 percent as compared to 84.9 percent). — Harris Interactive poll

Students who have participated in school music programs are more likely to attend college, excel on exams such as the ACT and SAT, and achieve a high GPA in college (Eccles & Barber, 1999; Thaut, 2010)

Music education develops better communication skills and cognitive skills useful in every area of study, which helps students achieve in school (Gromko, 2005; Schellenberg, 2004; Thaut, 2010).

Research has shown that having high-quality music programs in schools contributes to students having a more positive perception of schooling and a more positive school environment in general (Broh, 2002; Davalos et al., 1999; Johnson & Memmott, 2006; Miksza, 2010)

Research shows music study contributes to brain development and patterns of activation; therefore music education may lead to developing intellect and related skills (Elbert et al., 1995; Gaser & Schlaug, 2003; Parsons et al., 2005; Schlaug et al., 1995).

Music education brings countless psychological, emotional and physical benefits contributing to success in life, such as increased self-esteem, a sense of belongingness, a sense of community ethics, and dependability (Costa-Giomi, 2004; Jellison, Brooks, & Huck, 1984; Miksza, 2010).

Music education shapes individual abilities and character decreasing misbehavior through training and self-discipline to broaden students’ understanding and appreciation of the world around them, which leads to harmony in society (Blanton, 1962; Eccles & Barber, 1999; Cooley et al., 1995; Miksza, 2010).

Music education provides opportunities and experiences for students to understand global issues; to work collaboratively with individuals representing diverse cultures, religions and lifestyles in a spirit of mutual respect.

Parents, please let your school, community, and state officials know that you appreciate your child’s music programs!

Visit the website http://advocacy.nafme.org/ to join the National Association for Music Education’s project “advocacy groundswell” to stay informed of local and national initiatives and to make a difference in the musical opportunities our children have.

Music is a necessary part of a well-rounded curriculum in our public schools

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