Music Education in Public Schools

A school’s budget is lowered, and the school board cuts its music program.

Soon, the performance of that school’s students begins to falter. Younger students struggle with their classes. Older students score lower on their SAT’s and ACT’s. Do you want this to happen at your school? Even on a low budget, school boards should remember the importance of music education and keep their music programs. Music helps students with test scores, other school subjects, and even life skills, so public schools should keep their music programs and put a bigger emphasis on music education.

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Music can help students of any age to succeed. Young children starting school may excel in other school subjects because of music. They can learn math through rhythm, language through song lyrics, and history through music from different eras and countries. Music continues to help students as they leave school and enter the working world. While at school music programs, students learn necessary skills such as cooperation and communication and improve their creativity (“Play”). Learning music doesn’t only benefit students during school, but after they graduate as well.

Music has been shown to lead students to achieve higher scores on tests, so having a good music program could help a school considerably. In 1997, Don Campbell stated that students involved with some form of music could score up to 51 points higher on an SAT than the national average (“Play”). Later, James Catterall’s research showed that students provided with music education for at least four years scored above average on SAT’s and ACT’s (Colwell). If a student is involved with music, then they’ll score higher on their tests, and their test scores can determine their futures. It is the school’s job to supply students with opportunities to learn music.

Despite its many benefits, music education is often seen as a luxury, and schools may cut their music programs because of the lower budget they are given. However, a simple music class could still operate effectively even with a low budget. A choir class could function with an inexpensive instrument, songbooks, and sheet music (“Play”). The music programs could also hold fundraisers to gain more money to cover costs. A school might also cut its music program in order to focus more on core subjects such as math and English, but doing so would be counter-productive.

Why would a school cut a music program for other subjects if music helped students succeed in the other subjects? Schools shouldn’t cut or lower their music education programs; if anything, they should add more. Music helps students of all ages, from young children starting elementary school to older students taking SAT’s and ACT’s in high school. During school music classes, students learn important skills that they’ll need after they graduate. School boards need to remember the importance of music education and keep their music programs. Music isn’t a luxury.

It is an important part of education that gives lasting benefits. If schools keep their music programs, then they supply their students with those benefits, but if they cut their music programs, then they take the benefits away.