Revista de Educación y Neurociencias
Twelve Benefits of Music Education
1. Early musical training helps develop brain areas involved in language and reasoning. It is thought that brain development continues for many years after birth. Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain's circuits in specific ways. Linking familiar songs to new information can also help imprint information on young minds.
2. There is also a causal link between music and spatial intelligence (the ability to perceive the world accurately and to form mental pictures of things). This kind of intelligence, by which one can visualize various elements that should go together, is critical to the sort of thinking necessary for everything from solving advanced mathematics problems to being able to pack a book-bag with everything that will be needed for the day.
3. Students of the arts learn to think creatively and to solve problems by imagining various solutions, rejecting outdated rules and assumptions. Questions about the arts do not have only one right answer.
4. Recent studies show that students who study the arts are more successful on standardized tests such as the SAT. They also achieve higher grades in high school.
5. A study of the arts provides children with an internal glimpse of other cultures and teaches them to be empathetic towards the people of these cultures. This development of compassion and empathy, as opposed to development of greed and a "me first" attitude, provides a bridge across cultural chasms that leads to respect of other races at an early age.
6. Students of music learn craftsmanship as they study how details are put together painstakingly and what constitutes good, as opposed to mediocre, work. These standards, when applied to a student's own work, demand a new level of excellence and require students to stretch their inner resources.
7. In music, a mistake is a mistake; the instrument is in tune or not, the notes are well played or not, the entrance is made or not. It is only by much hard work that a successful performance is possible. Through music study, students learn the value of sustained effort to achieve excellence and the concrete rewards of hard work.
8. Music study enhances teamwork skills and discipline. In order for an orchestra to sound good, all players must work together harmoniously towards a single goal, the performance, and must commit to learning music, attending rehearsals, and practicing.
9. Music provides children with a means of self-expression. Now that there is relative security in the basics of existence, the challenge is to make life meaningful and to reach for a higher stage of development. Everyone needs to be in touch at some time in his life with his core, with what he is and what he feels. Self-esteem is a by-product of this self-expression.
10. Music study develops skills that are necessary in the workplace. It focuses on "doing," as opposed to observing, and teaches students how to perform, literally, anywhere in the world. Employers are looking for multi-dimensional workers with the sort of flexible and supple intellects that music education helps to create as described above. In the music classroom, students can also learn to better communicate and cooperate with one another.
11. Music performance teaches young people to conquer fear and to take risks. A little anxiety is a good thing, and something that will occur often in life. Dealing with it early and often makes it less of a problem later. Risk-taking is essential if a child is to fully develop his or her potential.
12. An arts education exposes children to the incomparable.
MUSIC CLASSES ARE A VITAL PART of student academic achievement. The importance of music and fine arts has been debated in school board rooms across the country for several years. As budgets are trimmed and school music programs are cut, this becomes an important question to answer. These music and arts programs are an important component of student learning and success.
Music programs are not extras!
Instrumental and vocal music classes are often referred to as "extracurricular" classes. Music is anything but "extracurricular". Music classes offer many benefits which make them very indispensable. Performance programs enhance a student's sense of self esteem as well as their social skills. Students become a part of a positive group and organization. Not only do students profit socially from music programs, but they also gain academically.
Several studies have confirmed that music directly enhances learning through increased spatial development. Math and reading are improved by learning rhythms and decoding notes and symbols. So there appears to be cross disciplinary learning in music.
Music makes the grade!
For years elementary teachers have decried the music pullout program (students are taken out of class to receive music instruction once or twice a week) because of "lost instruction" time. But according to many studies these fears are unfounded.
Researchers in Hamilton, Ohio, documented that students participating in a string pullout program scored higher on the reading, mathematics and citizenship portions of the Ohio Proficiency Test (OPT), than their non-music peers.
This study paired string and non-music students based on their verbal Cognitive Abilities Test (COGAT). Four groups of string students were released two times a week for instruction. Two of those four groups scored significantly higher on the reading and mathematics portion of the OPT than their non-music peers. Additionally, 68% of string students scored at grade level or higher on all four sections of the test compared to 58% of the non-music students. For more information (Michael D. Wallick, Ohio City Schools)
In high school, the results are also convincing. Every year juniors and seniors take the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT) for college admissions . These scores reflect several years of education and are intended to judge a persons over-all education.