Most present day artists, architects, and musicians acquired
their interests during public school Fine Arts classes. Only
by continuing to allow students to explore these ways of learning
will this portion of the economy continue to grow. Education
without the Fine Arts is fundamentally impoverished and subsequently
leads to an impoverished society.
What about the claimed benefits of music education
on other portions of the academic curriculum?
The most rigorous review of all studies (Reviewing Education and the
Arts Project Report (REAP)) shows there are significant, reliable causal
relationships between the systematic, formal study of music and gains
in mathematics and in spatial-temporal relationships. Brain studies
show the development of more extensive neural connections in musicians.
Should Music and the Arts be used to teach other academic
While studies show positive influences in other academic areas, music
and the Fine Arts are an academic discipline that are, as the other
academics, an independent way of learning and knowing. Reading, writing,
and mathematics are important and all students should be successful
in those areas, however none of those academic areas justify their
existence on the basis of what is accomplished for another area. Each
academic discipline is important for a well-rounded curriculum. Music
and Fine Arts are an academic area of study equal to reading, writing,
mathematics and science.
Should the study of Music and the Fine Arts be available
to all students?
Where music and Fine Arts programs have been eliminated because of
funding difficulties, students have been deprived of a significant
opportunity of learning and knowing about the world around them. All
students should be able to “elect” to study music and the
Fine Arts in depth at the secondary level. All students should have
the opportunity to study music at the elementary level in a systematic,
If music and the Fine Arts are reserved for only wealthy schools
or communities, a cultural “elite” will be created,
which also creates a significant distinction of social class.
Music and the Fine Arts should not only be available to those
children of wealthy parents who can purchase private tutors
or subsidize public schools with donations to sustain public
school programs, but also to students of average or low socio-economic
Should Music and the Fine Arts should be reserved
only for those students who have demonstrated their “talent?”
Magnet schools and magnet programs are wonderful for students exhibiting
their skill at an early age, but many students do not realize their
talent at early ages. Without opportunities in elementary, middle or
high schools many students will miss developing their creative and/or
artistic abilities. Districts or communities relying on solely on magnet
programs and exclude or reduce Fine Arts in other district schools
deny many students the chance to develop this way of knowing and learning.
How should Music and the Fine Arts fit into the educational
The school curriculum should be designed to deliver more than a minimal
education to students. Music and Art should be taught at every elementary
school in a regular and systematic way. Music and all Fine Arts should
be considered “academic electives” in secondary schools
and available to all students on a multi-year basis to allow adequate
time for skills to develop sufficiently for informed decisions about
college programs and career choices. All academic electives, including
Music and Fine Arts, should count towards entrance requirements in
colleges and universities. All students graduating from public schools
should have received at least one credit in Fine Arts. All colleges
and universities should require one Fine Arts credit for admission.
• Make certain your advocacy network in your county is strong and that communication
systems are in place for rapid use.
• Network with all Fine Arts educators and advocates on your campus.
• Network with all levels of Fine Arts educators in your school system (elementary – middle – high
school – college).
• Use these talking points to communicate with your state legislators and
let them know how important Music and the Fine Arts are to you. Ask for their
support for legislation that will ensure the Fine Arts’ place in the K-12
curriculum, and the funds to support those programs.