Mind & Body
Music Education Benefits Youth
3/1/2020 12:00:00 AM

Music Education

March is National Music in our Schools Month so it’s a great time to highlight the many reasons music is beneficial to young people. Singing or playing a musical instrument helps students in numerous ways – academically, physically, psychologically, and socially.

Mickey Smith, Jr., band director at Maplewood Middle School and 2020 Music Educator Grammy Award winner, says music is not an elective. "Music is an essential element to children’s development and the human experience called life.” 

Academic Benefits

Language development and reasoning: Students who have early musical training develop the areas of the brain related to language and reasoning. The left side of the brain is better developed with music. Songs help imprint information on young minds.

Memorization skills: Musicians constantly use their memory to perform. Memorization can serve students well in education and beyond.

Pattern recognition: Children develop math and pattern-recognition skills when learning music. Playing music offers repetition in a fun format.

Students learn to improve their work: Music education promotes craftsmanship, and students learn to want to create good work instead of mediocre work. This desire can be applied to all subjects of study.

More interest in school: Music can keep kids interested and engaged in school. Student musicians are likely to stay in school and achieve in other subjects.

Better standardized testing scores: Students who learn music statistically have higher ACT and SAT scores. 

Greater music appreciation: Annee DeFelice, a freshman at Sam Houston High School, has played clarinet since fifth grade. "The band program introduces me to a wide variety of music genres that I would not normally be exposed to,” she says.

Physical Benefits

Increased coordination: Students who practice musical instruments can improve their hand-eye coordination. Like playing sports, children develop motor skills when playing music.

Fine-tuned auditory skills: Students who practice music have better auditory attention and pick out predictable patterns from surrounding noise.

Physical activity: Marching band, with parades, practices for Friday night football and competition events, and the rigors of summer band camp are serious workouts! Many schools now accept marching band as PE credit.

Psychological Benefits

Music builds imagination and curiosity: Introducing music during early childhood helps foster a positive attitude toward learning and wonder. 

Artistic education: develops the whole brain and heightens a child’s creativity.

Music can be relaxing: Students can relax and lessen stress by learning to play music.

Improved self-confidence: Learning to play music on a new instrument can be a challenging but achievable goal. Students who master even the smallest objective in music will feel proud of their achievement. "For me, teaching music is not just about the subject matter; it’s an opportunity to show the students that they matter,” says Smith. "Music education provides a stage for children to discover their "sound” (their unique, personal-significance). Smith founded Musicmakers2U, a non-profit organization thatcollects used instruments from the community, refurbishes them, and gives them to students who want to participate in band but cannot afford to buy their own instrument.

Emotional development: Music students can be more emotionally developed, with empathy towards other cultures. They also tend to have higher self-esteem and are better at coping with anxiety.

Musical instruments can teach discipline: Kids who play an instrument learn the value of discipline. They must set time aside to practice in order to master playing their instrument.

Social Benefits

The value of teamwork: Music education teaches students to work together and build camaraderie. "Participating in the band program teaches me the importance of teamwork, requiring me to work with and listen to others in order to create good music,” says DeFelice. "It’s very satisfying to put in hours of rehearsal and then see the entire band shine in an outstanding performance.” 

Success in society: Music can help shape abilities and character. Students in band or chorus are less likely to abuse substances over their lifetime.

Positive Relationships: Children who participate in music form strong bonds with other music students, often resulting in life-long friendships.

In this era of nationwide budget cuts to the arts in education, it’s important to know that the Calcasieu Parish School Board values music education in our schools. "Education today often has the feel of a high pressure, highly tested, results driven process,” says Calcasieu Parish School Board Superintendent Karl Bruchhaus. "Music education in Calcasieu Parish is a catalyst to help remind everyone that education needs to go beyond just testing to create quality human beings. Music has the ability to feed the soul and nurture a quality in students that can truly last a lifetime.”

Posted by: Angie Kay Dilmore | Submit comment | Tell a friend


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