Study Reveals Most Teachers And Parents Believe Music Education Should Be Required In School

 A new NAMM Foundation study reveals a majority of teachers and parents believes music and arts education is important for children, and most even believe that music education should be required in school.

A new NAMM Foundation study reveals a majority of teachers and parents believes music and arts education is important for children, and most even believe that music education should be required.

A nationwide study, titled “Striking a Chord: The Public’s Hopes and Beliefs for K-12 Music Education in the United States 2015,” surveying 1,000 teachers and 800 parents found strong support for music education at all grade levels.

According to the survey conducted in January-February 2015, seventy-seven percent of teachers and 64 percent of parents agree that music and arts education are “extremely important” or “very important.”

Sixty-three percent of teachers and 57 percent of parents believe music education should be a required subject in middle school.

Eighty-seven percent of teachers and 81 percent of parents believe children should have a chance to learn to play musical instruments as early as elementary school.

“The data couldn’t be more clear,” said Peter Grunwald, President of Grunwald Associates LLC, the research firm that conducted the survey. “Teachers and parents told us repeatedly that music is an essential part of learning, not merely an ‘extracurricular activity’ that can be cut when times get tough.”

The survey also found that 83 percent of teachers and 73 percent of parents say cutting music education is detrimental for students.

“Teachers speak from first-hand experience on what matters to keeping kids engaged in school and learning,” said Mary Luehrsen, executive director of the NAMM Foundation. “And nobody is more personally invested in kids’ long-term success than parents. What we see here is that parents and teachers overwhelmingly agree on the importance of providing every child with access to music education in school.”

Minority parents are also strongly committed to music education; African-American (76 percent) and Hispanic parents (75 percent) are more likely than Caucasian parents (67 percent) to enroll their children in school music classes, the study found.

“This study shows that parents and teachers get it – a complete education includes music and the arts,” Luehrsen said. “It’s up to us, all of us, to assure every child has access to quality music education in schools.”

As we previously reported, a Northwestern University study revealed that music classes are especially valuable to children from low-income families.

In the study, children who received music training retained their age-normed level of reading performance while the control group’s (who didn’t receive music education) performance deteriorated, according to the study.

“While the extent of change is modest, outcomes nonetheless provide evidence that music programs may have value in helping to counteract the negative effects of low-socioeconomic status on child literacy development,” the researchers explained in the study.

Researchers added they interpreted these results to mean that the “auditory enrichment” offered in a music class may improve literacy skills and combat the otherwise negative impact of a low-income environment.

“Many of the same aspects of sound processing that are deficient in children with language and learning impairments have been found to be strengthened in those who receive music training… and music-based interventions have demonstrated some success in the remediation of reading problems,” the study stated.

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