Is Music Education Necessary in Schools?

Music education provides many benefits to students that, in turn, could save public schools from closing. Many schools, due to insufficient funding, cut from the fine arts department. Public schools in the United States are required to provide an Adequate Yearly Progress report, or AYP. These AYPs are used to determine schools that receive grants or other funding. A school can be shut down is they fail the AYP standards for more than five consecutive years (Thompson). Students with music education are able to raise these test scores and learn valuable lessons that will be useful in college, the workforce, and life.

In Sharon Bryant’s “How Children Benefit from Music Education in Schools”, she proposed “about 15 possible ways to cut school budgets, both teachers and parents are more willing to make cuts in 12 of the 14 other curricular, administrative and service areas than cut music and arts education.

Only the number and salaries of teachers are more sacrosanct.” While that may be the consensus of teachers and parents, school boards are the ones to make that decision.

Schools cut funding to the arts in order to retain government grants by giving that money to the math and reading programs in order to improve their overall scores as it is the easiest to cut from there. “Music requires you to perform mathematical processes on the fly…students in the arts program scored significantly higher on mathematical tests of computation and estimation than did students in a control group” (Baedecker). Therefore, the schools who cut their school funding are potentially hurting their chances of increasing students’ scores.

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While musicians are more mathematically intelligent, that is not the only area in which music education has improved. “Faster neural responses to degraded speech and consistently linked to music training, enhanced speech-in-noise perception, and better reading abilities across the lifespan”.

While this can improve math and reading skills, there are many other skills in which music can benefit. “Musically trained children showed greater improvement on memory tests…than their non-musically trained peers” (Baedecker). This can improve the overall scores on standardized testing and the AYPs mentioned earlier. Music can not only improve test scores, but it can also help lessen behavioral issues. In Robert Baedecker’s studies in “Why Music Education Actually Matters”, he found that students who took some form of music education after-school were less likely to have behavior problems. By decreasing the number of behavioral issues in schools, teachers can focus on teaching students the curriculum and perhaps even having extra time to work one-on-one with struggling students.

Not only does music education benefit public schools as a whole, it also prepares students for post-secondary education. Students have an 8.4% higher attendance rate compared to those who do not have any music education (Bryant). According to Sharon Bryant in “How Children Benefit from Music Education in Schools”, “The College Board identifies the arts as one of the six basic academic subject areas students should study in order to succeed in college.” This is proven true as “more than twice as many high-arts students from the low-SES group, compared with low-arts students in that group, attended a four-year college (39 percent versus 17 percent)” (Madden). Also, over 90% of people with some form of college education has had music education while in school.

Music does not only have academic benefits. “Music is about communication, creativity, and cooperation, and by studying music in schools, students have the opportunity to build on these skills, enrich their lives, and experience the world from a new perspective” (Bryant). Students are required to work as a group meaning that they learn many skills. Teamwork requires focus, attention to detail, and relying on others to do the same. In many cases, students in a band care for the good of the group and will do what is necessary in order to make the group sound good. While music teaches many great life lessons, learning to read music is a difficult task to achieve. “Music is sort of alchemy – a translation of abstract thought and emotion into something concrete that people outside your own head can consume, understand, and enjoy”.

Musicians are required to multitask and learn many skills. As Blake Madden states in “Why Music Education Actually Matters”, “The musician is constantly adjusting decisions on tempo, tone, style, rhythm, phrasing, and feeling – training the brain to become incredibly good at organizing and conducting numerous activities at once. Dedicated practice of this orchestration can have a great payoff for lifelong attention skills, intelligence, and an ability for self-knowledge and expression.” In addition, noise does not affect musically-trained individuals. “Learning to read music has cognitive benefits including both fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence, similar to bilingual students” (Bryant). This is because the brain uses the same way of processing to learn music as learning a spoken language.

“Longitudinal work investigating both a musical training and a control training group can conclusively show that musical training produces speech encoding benefits and rule out pre-existing differences in neural function” (Kraus et al). However, students who voluntarily learn music may be drawn to it because they have better hearing skills. Language skills such as speech processing, literacy, and verbal intelligence can be improved due to music instruction. Those who study music are always learning. It does not matter their level. Every musician learns from others and everyone has a different technique and sound quality. No two composers, artists, or musician sounds the same because music is very creative and open for people to include their personalities. For example, jazz music usually includes a section in which the notes they are playing is not written on the page. They improvise whatever they want.

Most successful musicians follow a few guidelines in order to better their sound, but it is not required. David Tribley, a high school jazz band director states, “good improvisation musicians go through each piece they are playing and learn the specific notes that sound good with each chord. Eventually, they will not have to think about what to play as it will become natural. Students that come through the program, first start out very shy. They are usually not open to creating a line from scratch without instruction, but my goal is to instill confidence in each of them, regardless of the final product”. The benefits of music education not only affect the school environment but the student’s ability to learn valuable lessons to be used after formal education. Students learn the fundamentals of instrumentation and composing. They also learn discipline, multitasking, and teamwork. Schools may not realize the effect of music on their students,

Works Cited

  1. Baedecker, Rob. “7 Ways Music Benefits Your Child’s Brain.” Parenting, 6 Nov. 2018. www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/7_ways_music_boosts_the_brain/.
  2. Bryant, Sharon. “How Children Benefit from Music Education in Schools”. NAMM Foundation, 9 June 2014, www.nammfoundation.org/articles/2014-06-09/how-children-benefit-from-
  3. music-education-schools.
  4. Johnston, Kathleen, Kraus, Nina, Krizman, Jennifer, Skoe, Erika, Tierney Adam. “High School Music Classes Enhance the Neural Processing of Speech.” Frontiers, 28 Oct. 2013, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00855/full.
  5. Madden, Blake. “Why Music Education Actually Matters.” NAfME, 18 Oct. 2017, www.nafme.org/why-music-education-actually-matters.
  6. Thompson, Van. “Do Standardized Test Scores Factor in to How Much Money a School Will Receive?” The Classroom, Leaf Group Education, 27 Sept. 2018, www.theclassroom.com/standardized-test-scores-factor-much-money-school-receive-25534.html.
  7. Tribley, David. Personal interview. 18 Dec. 2018.

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Is Music Education Necessary in Schools?. (2021, Dec 27). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/is-music-education-necessary-in-schools/

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