student in the nation should have an education in the arts.”|
is the opening statement of 'The Value and Quality of Arts Education: A Statement
of Principles', a document from the nation's ten most important educational organizations,
including the American Association of School Administrators, the National Education
Association, the National Parent Teacher Association, and the National School
The basic statement is unlikely to be challenged
by anyone involved in education. In the sometimes harsh reality of limited time
and funding for instruction, however, the inclusion of the arts in every student's
education can sometimes be relegated to a distant wish rather than an exciting
It doesn't have to be that way! All that's needed is a clear
message sent to all those who must make the hard choices involved in running a
school or school system. The basic message is that music programs in the schools
help our kids and communities in real and substantial ways. You can use the following
facts about the benefits of music education, based on a growing body of convincing
research, to move decision-makers to make the right choices.
benefits conveyed by music education can be grouped in four categories:
- Success in society
- Success in developing intelligence
When presented with
the many and manifest benefits of music education, officials at all levels should
universally support a full, balanced, sequential course of music instruction taught
by qualified teachers. And every student will have an education in the arts.
One: Success in Society|
the basic reason that every child must have an education in music is that music
is a part of the fabric of our society. The intrinsic value of music for each
individual is widely recognized in the many cultures that make up American life
indeed, every human culture uses music to carry forward its ideas and ideals.
The importance of music to our economy is without doubt. And the value of music
in shaping individual abilities and character are attested in a number of places:
- Secondary students who
participated in band or orchestra reported the lowest lifetime and current use
of all substances (alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs). Texas Commission
on Drug and Alcohol Abuse Report. Reported in Houston Chronicle, January 1998
- 'Music is a magical gift we must nourish and cultivate
in our children, especially now as scientific evidence proves that an education
in the arts makes better math and science students, enhances spatial intelligence
in newborns, and let's not forget that the arts are a compelling solution to teen
violence, certainly not the cause of it!' Michael Greene, Recording
Academy President and CEO at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards, February 2000.
- The U.S. Department of Education lists the arts
as subjects that college-bound middle and junior high school students should take,
stating "Many colleges view participation in the arts and music as a valuable
experience that broadens students' understanding and appreciation of the world
around them. It is also well known and widely recognized that the arts contribute
significantly to children's intellectual development." In addition, one year of
Visual and Performing Arts is recommended for college-bound high school students.
Getting Ready for College Early: A Handbook for Parents of Students
in the Middle and Junior High School Years, U.S. Department of Education, 1997
- The College Board identifies the arts as one of
the six basic academic subject areas students should study in order to succeed
in college. Academic Preparation for College: What Students Need to
Know and Be Able to Do, 1983 [still in use], The College Board, New York
arts create jobs, increase the local tax base, boost tourism, spur growth in related
businesses (hotels, restaurants, printing, etc.) and improve the overall quality
of life for our cities and towns. On a national level, nonprofit arts institutions
and organizations generate an estimated $37 billion in economic activity and return
$3.4 billion in federal income taxes to the U.S. Treasury each year. American
Arts Alliance Fact Sheet, October 1996
- The very
best engineers and technical designers in the Silicon Valley industry are, nearly
without exception, practicing musicians. Grant Venerable, "The Paradox
of the Silicon Savior," as reported in "The Case for Sequential Music Education
in the Core Curriculum of the Public Schools," The Center for the Arts in the
Basic Curriculum, New York, 1989
Two: Success in School|
in society, of course, is predicated on success in school. Any music teacher or
parent of a music student can call to mind anecdotes about effectiveness of music
study in helping children become better students. Skills learned through the discipline
of music, these stories commonly point out, transfer to study skills, communication
skills, and cognitive skills useful in every part of the curriculum. Another common
variety of story emphasizes the way that the discipline of music study
particularly through participation in ensembles helps students learn to
work effectively in the school environment without resorting to violent or inappropriate
behavior. And there are a number of hard facts that we can report about the ways
that music study is correlated with success in school:
- The term "core academic subjects" means English,
reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and
government, economics, arts, history, and geography - No Child Left Behind
Act of 2002, Title IX, Part A, Sec. 9101 (11)
study of 237 second grade children used piano keyboard training and newly designed
math software to demonstrate improvement in math skills. The group scored 27%
higher on proportional math and fractions tests than children that used only the
math software. Graziano, Amy, Matthew Peterson, and Gordon Shaw, "Enhanced
learning of proportional math through music training and spatial-temporal training."
Neurological Research 21 (March 1999).
- In an
analysis of U.S. Department of Education data on more than 25,000 secondary school
students (NELS:88, National Education Longitudinal Survey), researchers found
that students who report consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental
music over the middle and high school years show significantly higher levels of
mathematics proficiency by grade 12. This observation holds regardless of students
socio-economic status, and differences in those who are involved with instrumental
music vs. those who are not is more significant over time. Catterall,
James S., Richard Chapleau, and John Iwanaga. Involvement in the Arts and Human
Development: General Involvement and Intensive Involvement in Music and Theater
Arts. Los Angeles, CA: The Imagination Project at UCLA Graduate School of Education
and Information Studies, 1999.
- Students with
coursework/experience in music performance and music appreciation scored higher
on the SAT: students in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal
and 41 points higher on the math, and students in music appreciation scored 63
points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on the math, than did students with
no arts participation. College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile
of SAT Program Test Takers. Princeton, NJ: The College Entrance Examination Board,
- According to statistics compiled by the
National Data Resource Center, students who can be classified as 'disruptive'
(based on factors such as frequent skipping of classes, times in trouble, in-school
suspensions, disciplinary reasons given, arrests, and drop-outs) total 12.14 percent
of the total school population. In contrast, only 8.08 percent of students involved
in music classes meet the same criteria as 'disruptive.' Based on data
from the NELS:88 (National Education Longitudinal Study), second follow-up, 1992.
- Data from the National Education Longitudinal Study
of 1988 showed that music participants received more academic honors and awards
than non-music students, and that the percentage of music participants receiving
As, As/Bs, and Bs was higher than the percentage of non- participants receiving
those grades. NELS:88 First Follow-up, 1990, National Center for Education
Statistics, Washington DC
- Physician and biologist
Lewis Thomas studied the undergraduate majors of medical school applicants. He
found that 66% of music majors who applied to medical school were admitted, the
highest percentage of any group. 44% of biochemistry majors were admitted.
As reported in "The Case for Music in the Schools," Phi Delta Kappan, February
- A study of 811 high school students indicated
that the proportion of minority students with a music teacher role-model was significantly
larger than for any other discipline. 36% of these students identified music teachers
as their role models, as opposed to 28% English teachers, 11% elementary teachers,
7% physical education/sports teachers, 1% principals. D.L. Hamann and
L.M. Walker, "Music teachers as role models for African-American students," Journal
of Research in Music Education, 41, 1993
who participated in arts programs in selected elementary and middle schools in
New York City showed significant increases in self-esteem and thinking skills.
National Arts Education Research Center, New York University, 1990
three: Success in Developing Intelligence|
in school and in society depends on an array of abilities. Without joining the
intense ongoing debate about the nature of intelligence as a basic ability, we
can demonstrate that some measures of a child's intelligence are indeed increased
with music instruction. Once again, this burgeoning range of data supports a long-established
base of anecdotal knowledge to the effect that music education makes kids smarter.
What is new and especially compelling, however, is a combination of tightly-controlled
behavioral studies and groundbreaking neurological research that show how music
study can actively contribute to brain development:
- In a study conducted by Dr. Timo Krings, pianists and non-musicians
of the same age and sex were required to perform complex sequences of finger movements.
Their brains were scanned using a technique called 'functional magnetic resource
imaging' (fMRI) which detects the activity levels of brain cells. The non-musicians
were able to make the movements as correctly as the pianists, but less activity
was detected in the pianists' brains. Thus, compared to non-musicians, the brains
of pianists are more efficient at making skilled movements. These findings show
that musical training can enhance brain function. Weinberger, Norm.
'The Impact of Arts on Learning.' MuSICa Research Notes 7, no. 2 (Spring 2000).
Reporting on Krings, Timo et al. 'Cortical Activation Patterns during Complex
Motor Tasks in Piano Players and Control Subjects. A Functional Magnetic Resonance
Imaging Study.' Neuroscience Letters 278, no. 3 (2000): 189-93.
musician is constantly adjusting decisions on tempo, tone, style, rhythm, phrasing,
and feeling--training the brain to become incredibly good at organizing and conducting
numerous activities at once. Dedicated practice of this orchestration can have
a great payoff for lifelong attentional skills, intelligence, and an ability for
self-knowledge and expression." Ratey John J., MD. A User's Guide
to the Brain. New York: Pantheon Books, 2001.
research team exploring the link between music and intelligence reported that
music training is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing
children's abstract reasoning skills, the skills necessary for learning math and
science. Shaw, Rauscher, Levine, Wright, Dennis and Newcomb, "Music
training causes long-term enhancement of preschool children's spatial-temporal
reasoning," Neurological Research, Vol. 19, February 1997
in two Rhode Island elementary schools who were given an enriched, sequential,
skill-building music program showed marked improvement in reading and math skills.
Students in the enriched program who had started out behind the control group
caught up to statistical equality in reading, and pulled ahead in math.
Gardiner, Fox, Jeffrey and Knowles, as reported in Nature, May 23, 1996
- Researchers at the University of Montreal used various
brain imaging techniques to investigate brain activity during musical tasks and
found that sight-reading musical scores and playing music both activate regions
in all four of the cortex's lobes; and that parts of the cerebellum are also activated
during those tasks. Sergent, J., Zuck, E., Tenial, S., and MacDonall,
B. (1992). Distributed neural network underlying musical sight reading and keyboard
performance. Science, 257, 106-109.
in Leipzig found that brain scans of musicians showed larger planum temporale
(a brain region related to some reading skills) than those of non-musicians. They
also found that the musicians had a thicker corpus callosum (the bundle of nerve
fibers that connects the two halves of the brain) than those of non-musicians,
especially for those who had begun their training before the age of seven.
Schlaug, G., Jancke, L., Huang, Y., and Steinmetz, H. (1994). In vivo morphometry
of interhem ispheric assymetry and connectivity in musicians. In I. Deliege (Ed.),
Proceedings of the 3d international conference for music perception and cognition
(pp. 417-418). Liege, Belgium.
- A University
of California (Irvine) study showed that after eight months of keyboard lessons,
preschoolers showed a 46% boost in their spatial reasoning IQ. Rauscher,
Shaw, Levine, Ky and Wright, "Music and Spatial Task Performance: A Causal Relationship",
University of California, Irvine, 1994
found that children given piano lessons significantly improved in their spatial-
temporal IQ scores (important for some types of mathematical reasoning) compared
to children who received computer lessons, casual singing, or no lessons.
Rauscher, F.H., Shaw, G.L., Levine, L.J., Wright, E.L., Dennis, W.R., and Newcomb,
R. (1997) Music training causes long-term enhancement of preschool children's
spatial temporal reasoning. Neurological Research, 19, 1-8.
McGill University study found that pattern recognition and mental representation
scores improved significantly for students given piano instruction over a three-year
period. They also found that self-esteem and musical skills measures improved
for the students given piano instruction. Costa-Giomi, E. (1998, April).
The McGill Piano Project: Effects of three years of piano instruction on children's
cognitive abilities, academic achievement, and self-esteem. Paper presented at
the meeting of the Music Educators National Conference, Phoenix, AZ.
found that lessons on songbells (a standard classroom instrument) led to significant
improvement of spatial-temporal scores for three- and four-year-olds. Gromko,
J.E., and Poorman, A.S. (1998) The effect of music training on preschooler's spatial-temporal
task performance. Journal of Research in Music Education, 46, 173-181.
the Kindergarten classes of the school district of Kettle Moraine, Wisconsin,
children who were given music instruction scored 48 percent higher on spatial-temporal
skill tests than those who did not receive music training. Rauscher,
F.H., and Zupan, M.A. (1999). Classroom keyboard instruction improves kindergarten
children's spatial-temporal performance: A field study. Manuscript in press, Early
Childhood Research Quarterly.
- An Auburn University
study found significant increases in overall self-concept of at-risk children
participating in an arts program that included music, movement, dramatics and
art, as measured by the Piers-Harris Children' Self-Concept Scale. N.H.
Barry, Project ARISE: Meeting the needs of disadvantaged students through the
arts, Auburn University, 1992
four: Success in Life|
Each of us wants our children and the children of all those around us
to achieve success in school, success in employment, and success in the social
structures through which we move. But we also want our children to experience
“success” on a broader scale. Participation in music, often as not based on a
grounding in music education during the formative school years, brings countless
benefits to each individual throughout life. The benefits may be psychological
or spiritual, and they may be physical as well:
- “Studying music encourages self-discipline and diligence,
traits that carry over into intellectual pursuits and that lead to effective study
and work habits. An association of music and math has, in fact, long been noted.
Creating and performing music promotes self-expression and provides self-gratification
while giving pleasure to others. In medicine, increasing published reports demonstrate
that music has a healing effect on patients. For all these reasons, it deserves
strong support in our educational system, along with the other arts, the sciences,
and athletics.” Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Leading Heart Surgeon, Baylor
College of Music.
- “Music has a great power for
bringing people together. With so many forces in this world acting to drive wedges
between people, it’s important to preserve those things that help us experience
our common humanity.” Ted Turner, Turner Broadcasting System.
is one way for young people to connect with themselves, but it is also a bridge
for connecting with others. Through music, we can introduce children to the richness
and diversity of the human family and to the myriad rhythms of life.” Daniel
A. Carp, Eastman Kodak Company Chairman and CEO.
says music fills him with the wonder of life and the ‘incredible marvel’ of being
a human. Ives says it expands his mind and challenges him to be a true individual.
Bernstein says it is enriching and ennobling. To me, that sounds like a good cause
for making music and the arts an integral part of every child’s education. Studying
music and the arts elevates children’s education, expands students’ horizons,
and teaches them to appreciate the wonder of life.” U.S. Secretary of
Education Richard W. Riley, July 1999.
nation’s top business executives agree that arts education programs can help repair
weaknesses in American education and better prepare workers for the 21st
century.” “The Changing Workplace is Changing Our View of Education.”
Business Week, October 1996.
- “Music making makes
the elderly healthier.... There were significant decreases in anxiety, depression,
and loneliness following keyboard lessons. These are factors that are critical
in coping with stress, stimulating the immune system, and in improved health.
Results also show significant increases in human growth hormones following the
same group keyboard lessons. (Human growth hormone is implicated in aches and
pains.)” Dr. Frederick Tims, reported in AMC Music News, June 2, 1999
- “Music education opens doors that help children
pass from school into the world around them — a world of work, culture, intellectual
activity, and human involvement. The future of our nation depends on providing
our children with a complete education that includes music.” Gerald
Ford, former President, United States of America
the Gulf War, the few opportunities I had for relaxation I always listened to
music, and it brought to me great peace of mind. I have shared my love of music
with people throughout this world, while listening to the drums and special instruments
of the Far East, Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Far North
and all of this started with the music appreciation course that I was taught in
a third-grade elementary class in Princeton, New Jersey. What a tragedy it would
be if we lived in a world where music was not taught to children.” H.
Norman Schwarzkopf, General, U.S. Army, retired
is about communication, creativity, and cooperation, and, by studying music in
school, students have the opportunity to build on these skills, enrich their lives,
and experience the world from a new perspective.” Bill Clinton, former
President, United States of America
compiled by MENC Staff - The National Association for Music Education "Music Education
Facts and Figures"|