Why Music Education MattersJef Furr
As a Music Director, has anyone asked you, “Why Does Music Education Matter?” Music education is becoming more of a challenge because states are cutting arts funding from schools. When discussing lack of funding for the arts, a reason often cited is that budgets are being slashed in favor of improvements in academic performance. Those who believe that music isn’t as important as other core academic subjects are uneducated about how music can benefit students, both emotionally and in their academic pursuits. In schools world-wide, music education is critical to students’ development of skills necessary for thriving in school and beyond.
Students who are involved in music education always have a higher probability of going to college, higher GPA’s, and music majors have the highest SAT scores in all areas. Music education demands a great deal of self-discipline from students, and improves writing, communication, and organizational skills.
“In my time as a music educator, I have found Music Education to be the great equalizer among my students. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your background, where you live, where you are from, who your parents are, or how much experience you have. ALL students have the ability to express themselves through MUSIC. Music stands alone as the creative collaboration force that unites us all.”
Research has repeatedly shown the benefits of music education and the correlation between music education and students’ academic success. For example, The Journal for Research in Music Education states that quality music education instruction improves academic performance and leads to better scores on standardized tests.
Cortex, a journal devoted to the Study of the Nervous System and Behavior, notes that behavioral and brain imaging studies in musicians have provided evidence for a possible sensitive period for musical training: showing that musicians who began training early show better task performance and greater changes in auditory and motor regions of the brain.
According to PBS, “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 it can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways.”
Other noted examples of music education benefiting students beyond the classroom include increased self-esteem, very good hand-eye coordination, better listening skills, less stress, increased creativity, and a source for developing friendships with a common interest.