March is “Music in Our Schools Month”!
Celebrating the importance of music and education
by Robert Fisher
March 2019 marks the 34th anniversary of “Music In Our Schools Month” (MIOSM) – a program launched by the National Association for Music Education over 30 years ago with the goal of promoting the importance of music education. School music programs and private music lessons provide the backbone for fine arts literacy and education. With a general decline in musical literacy as a nation, the importance in investing in quality music education and experiences is becoming even more paramount. Listed below are 14 benefits of studying music and ways to dive deeper:
Benefits of Music:
1. Music can help children succeed in school!
This might seem like a no-brainer, but research shows that students who participate in music programs achieve higher grades. Research also shows that students who study music through high school score higher on standardized tests, like the SAT. Music classes can develop skills in coping with and overcoming performance anxiety.
2. Music develops the brain and body in a unique way.
Music is unique in that it is one of the few subjects which activates all parts of the brain. Music reinforces: Physical Education – movement in song, playing an instrument, fine and gross motor skills; Art (exercising creativity and expression); Mathematics (rhythm and counting); Science (study of acoustics, pitch and frequency); History (musical periods, composers, famous works); English (reading and pronouncing words, learning form, poetry in song); Technology (digital instruments, digital recording, music writing, editing software, digital streaming); Social Studies and Foreign Language (Italian, French, German, Swahili – just a few popular languages used in choral music a library of works from countless countries and cultures. Many of the most common words used in music are in Italian!).
3. Music instills grit and perseverance.
Practice, practice, practice! It is common for students to not play or sing a new song perfectly the first time through. Practicing is the fundamental way musicians improve. Practice takes patience and determination. Music is inherently about trying, failing, learning and then trying again until you get it. Grit and perseverance – life skills which are fundamental to music making!
4. Music helps exercise critical thinking skills.
Students in music must learn how to analyze and evaluate the sounds they hear. In order to compose, play or sing something new, students must think critically about their music and performance. Self-reflection is necessary in order to improve and a skill all good musicians develop over time through practice.
5. Music develops independence and social skills.
Practice in music requires self-discipline. No one can practice for another; there are no shortcuts and that’s a good thing! Music students are constantly challenged to take ownership of their learning in order to grow. Music naturally encourages the students to improve and grow through their own effort. A beautiful thing happens in music when students, who have independently prepared on their own, come together and work with others in ensembles to create a greater combined sound!
6. Music develops leadership skills.
Section leaders in a choir or band, soloist or select groups – students have opportunities to lead in a variety of ways through music. Music students are all encouraged to lead by example. Self-improvement through practice, hard work and discipline are core values in music; these are also core leadership skills!
7. Music embraces multiple ways of learning and knowing.
Music engages the senses in reading (visual), listening (aural), playing (kinesthetic) – often, all at the same time!
8. Music develops creativity and invention.
In speaking about the renowned theory of relativity, Albert Einstein said, “It’ occurred to me by intuition, and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was the result of musical perception.” Creating new ideas and communicating a message through sound involves a high-level of perception and thought. Many of the world’s great leaders, scientists, inventors were musicians.
Ways to dive deeper into Music:
10. Join a local band, orchestra or choir! Check for local listings and opening in community music ensembles. Many communities have local instrumental ensembles who meet and perform regularly. Church choirs, community chorales, and vocal groups can be found in most communities. Get involved in performing! Participating in a performing ensemble is one of the best ways to experience music, apply musical knowledge and develop creativity and skills in music.
11. Attend or perform in a local Musical. There are many school and community theater programs auditioning and recruiting cast for productions throughout the year. Be on the lookout during the Summer for an uptick in workshops, seminars and musical “intensives” for students seeking to dive deeper into the world of musical theater.
12. Go to a live concert and experience live music! Whether you live near a large metropolitan area with access to a host of world-class venues or live in a small rural community, performances do take place! Check out your local school listings for seasonal performances, keep an eye out at your local coffeeshop, winery/brewery or place of worship for listings of special music performances. More often than not, there are opportunities to find music to suit the taste of any music listener. Find a local concert performance and get your tickets today! You won’t regret it.
13. Study, create and produce music…from the palm of your hands! Download music apps on your mobile devices!If you own an Apple device, GarageBand is an excellent and now free app included on new Apple devices which allows users to play digital instruments, record, and produce self-made music tracks! Consider purchasing the Music Room app to beef up music theory skills at home, or try the Piano Maestro app by JoyTunes to sharpen piano playing skills. These apps, used in music classes and lessons are often a big hit with students!
14. Sign up for Private Music Lessons. Private Music lessons are one of the best ways to reinforce and develop what your child is learning in music class at school and one of the fastest ways to grow a budding musician. There are also many excellent private lessons teachers and studios in most metropolitan areas and for those with limited access to in-person lessons, online digital music lessons provide a convenient and accessible way to learn from professional instructors.
Music is so much more than simple entertainment. Consider the benefits of investing in music-filled opportunities. Get involved. Dive deeper into music. You won’t regret it!
For more interesting facts and research about the benefits of studying Music, check out the following links from the National Association for Music Education:
Broader Minded | Benefits of Studying Music