The Benefits of Music Education in School Districts
Would it not be nice to stand out as a school district far in comparison to the surrounding school districts?Would it not be beneficial to be nationally recognized and known across the country?Some schools might approach these topics with a mindset of forcing their students to do copious amounts of work, almost to the point of exhaustion; however, a more indirect approach may be easier to implement while receiving exponentially better results.Music education is present in many schools and funded in some, but very few make comprehensive use of all the program has to offer.Music education should become mandatory in all high schools because music education positively exposes others to the district, reaps strong benefits on students’ academic performance, and allows better social and emotional development in the students.
Good music programs well expose school districts on levels extending all the way from local areas to a national scale.The large exposure brought by good music education allows for better development of the program and more revenue for the school. For example, Carmel High School from Carmel, Indiana made national news after they won a nationwide competition for their marching band (Carmel).If a company sees that a school near them is receiving national attention, they might fund various projects around the school and put their name on it in hopes of receiving the same exposure.Additionally, schools with well-developed music programs have higher graduation rates and thus are rated higher nationally among other districts (Understanding).If schools wish to graduate many and gain the respect of other surrounding schools, a strong music education program is a must.
Thirdly, in North Allegheny School District alone, four out of the seven performing ensembles achieved the highest rating of superior at Festival Disney in Orlando in the spring of 2016 while competing among bands from across the United States.The remaining three ensembles achieved the second highest rating of excellent, and the group overall brought home a numerous variance of awards such as Best Overall Jazz Ensemble, Best Overall Concert Band, and Best Percussion (2015-2016).The well-gilded North Allegheny ensembles demonstrate the national scale on which a well-developed program can succeed and achieve recognition, and making music a necessary education requirement can only further the school’s image and exposure.The great exposure brought by music education could create a domino effect by bringing more revenue and grants to the schools, in turn allowing them to develop the program further and gain more exposure.This bountiful cycle can prove very advantageous to schools, but they cannot make full use of it without first making it mandatory.
Furthermore, students’ academic performance is heavily and positively impacted by a good music education program.Students who participate in music education and study have been found to reap benefits in an increasingly wide range of varying subject areas.For instance, The Journal of Aesthetic Education, a very respected journal from the University of Illinois, published a study that found learning to make music had direct and significant impacts on participants’ ability to reason spatially (Hetland).Spatial reasoning is a necessary skill that helps people navigate the standard yet ever-changing world, and it is additionally beneficial to the intricate disciplines of science and engineering.A study published by Update, a revered journal focused on the impacts of research on music education, asserted that music education substantially impacted children’s reading and verbal skills (Standley).
Verbal and reading skills are imperative in today’s society, and a stronger foundation in these areas can greatly enhance students’ positions in relation to their peers from schools who do not employ a mandatory education of music.Further, Dr. Christopher Johnson, the well-decorated professor and Director of the Division of Music Education and Music Therapy at the University of Kansas, wrote a paper detailing how students in well-developed music programs score substantially higher on standardized tests than those who either are not in a program at all or are in one that is less developed (Johnson).Consequently, the simple presence of a music education program in participants’ schools caused the students in the study to score higher on tests than students whose school did not have a music program.Who would not want their students to succeed both in school and in the world outside of school? Not only does music education better expose and improve students academically, but it also helps enable a better social and emotional development in students.
More socially and emotionally developed students are more equipped to face the outside world and are better able to handle themselves in varieties of situations.A Harris Interactive study in 2008 found that seventy percent of those involved in music detailed it contributing at least somewhat to their feeling level of overall personal fulfilment (MENC).Music education further allowed students to enjoy boosted self-confidence, and everybody knows a good-self image is much better than a bad one.Also, Christee Jenlink, a PhD candidate at Oklahoma State University, wrote a dissertation reporting that music programs allowed students to feel less alienated and develop more individually (Jenlink).Connecting with people is a very important part of high school, and the like-minded friends people encounter through music programs remains a substantial benefit.In addition, a test to measure social capital published in the journal Sociology of Education, a well-respected research journal publishing studies spanning across various social and educational institutions in society, found that music education increased participants’ interactions with others significantly, especially teachers and other students (Broh).
A greater increase in interaction has expounding effects on both the students and the community, such as more volunteers for a community service project or students receiving more help from teachers by not being afraid to interact with them and ask more questions.Emotional and social development are both difficult skills to further, yet implementing mandatory music education is a simple and effective way to remediate common problems experienced by students like alienation and lack of communication. Many insist that a problem with making music education mandatory is the burden placed financially on the schools.Many schools already have basic programs in place, but progressing the program and equipment costs cause concern in some administrators.However, plenty of organizations provide scholarships and grants to people and programs for this very reason.For example, in June of 2016, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) provided $600,000 in grants to music programs across the globe in support of founding quality programs of music (The NAMM).
The kindness demonstrated by NAMM and other patrons of the arts further proves that music education does not have to be for only the wealthy or a select group of people; it can and should be open and available to all, regardless of wealth or status, and by donating money through grants and scholarships they are able to break down the barrier of cost and bring music one step closer to students. A music education program provides invaluable resources to a school that are unattainable anywhere else.It provides impressive and significant exposure for school districts all the way from local to national levels, precipitates great positive improvements in academic achievement and other practical skill sets, and expounds upon and immensely facilitates emotional and social development in participants.Making music education a mandatory course in high schools provides a plethora of benefits both tangible and intangible, but all of them further students in a positive direction.Everyone wants their children to succeed.If music education is not currently mandatory in your school district, call or write to your local school board and show them that their residents want change.
Works Cited Broh, Beckett A. “Linking Extracurricular Programming to Academic Achievement: Who Benefits and Why?” Sociology of Education, vol. 75, no. 1, 2002, pp. 69–95.
“Carmel, Avon Take Top Honors at Bands of America Grand Nationals.” WTHR, 13 Nov. 2016. Accessed 21 Nov.
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“The NAMM Foundation Grants $600k to Music Education Programs.” PR Newswire, 13 June 2016. Student Resources in Context. Accessed 22 Nov. 2016.
Standley, Jayne M. “Does Music Instruction Help Children Learn to Read? Evidence of a Meta-Analysis.” Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, vol. 27, no. 1, Nov.
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” NA Bands, North Allegheny District Band Patrons. Accessed 21 Nov. 2016. Understanding the Linkages Between Music Education and Educational Outcomes. Harris Interactive, 6 July 2006.
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