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
Source: The College Board, Profile
of College- Bound Seniors National Report
SAT scores of students who took part in
music instruction surpassed students with
no music training. Data collected from students
taking the SAT, indicated that students taking
music and arts averaged scores that were
higher than non music students by 60 points
on the verbal section and 43 points on the
Additionally, data revealed that for every
year a student participated in music instruction,
their SAT scores improved. Students with
four or more years of music study recieved
an average score of about 544 as opposed
to a score just above 482 for those with
half a at least one semester of music instruction,
thus showing a strong correlation between
music and academic success. (For more information
see MENC Web Page)
Source: The College Board, Profile of
College- Bound Seniors National Report
Whether the results are a reflection of
a direct cognitive connection or other factors,
such as higher self-esteem, and involvement
in school, the outcome is no less important.
Music does influence and impact student learning
Music for everyone
The fact is, music is an important avenue
to individual success. Music should be made
available to all students in all schools.
Music programs hold an influential place
in school and academic structure. When consideration
is being given to program and budget cuts
administrators, parents, counselors and teachers
need to know that music education is not
just an "extra" elective to fill
students' schedules, but a vital part of
a complete"academic" education.