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by Robert Fisher · robert@csminspires.com

The start of the school year brings a flurry of activities. Whether your child is enrolling in new classes or participating in new after-school activities, the seemingly endless rat race has already started for many. In the hustle and bustle of family, work and life scheduling, it can unfortunately be easy for some to categorize music lessons and music study as “less important” or less of a priority. Sadly, musical study can get lumped into the “extracurricular” category. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Research has proven that musicians overall see a higher rate of academic success and achievement than their non-musical peers.

Check out the following music statistics and music advocacy site lists below to learn more about the importance of supporting and getting involved in music education! You might be inspired to practice your instrument a little longer or invest in music lessons if you aren’t involved in music making yet. Academic, cognitive, physical, social and emotional benefits await those ready to dive into music. Decades of research has proven what most serious musicians and teachers already know: music is far more than extracurricular!

1) “Music Education and Achievement”National Association for Music Education
NAfME is one of the largest national music educator and advocacy associations in the United States. This advocacy organization supports music educators through annual training and sponsoring continued music education research through the Journal of Research in Music Education. Below are some music education statistics quoted from the NAfME website:

On the 2012 SAT, students who participated in music scored an average of 31 points above average in reading, 23 points above average in math, and 31 points above average in writing.
College Board SAT, 2012 College-Bound Seniors: Total Group Profile Report. (See table 18.)

Researchers have demonstrated a strong relationship between individuals who participated in school arts experiences and higher academic success as demonstrated by grade point averages, scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) and math and verbal portions of the SAT exam.
Kelly, S. N.  (2012).  Fine Arts-Related Instruction’s Influence on Academic Success.

Students in high-quality school music programs score higher on standardized tests compared to students in schools with deficient music education programs, regardless of the socioeconomic level of the school or school district.
Johnson, C. M. & Memmott, J. E. (2007). Examination of relationships between participation in school music programs of differing quality and standardized test results. Journal of Research in Music Education, 54(4), 293-307.

After assigning 144 children to keyboard lessons, voice lessons, drama lessons, or no lessons, researchers found that children in the music groups exhibited greater increases on an IQ test than students in the drama lessons or those without lessons.
Schellenberg, E. G. (2004). Music lessons enhance IQ. Psychological Science, 15(8), 511-514.

An analysis of data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 demonstrated a significant correlation between participation in school music groups and achievement in math and English.
Broh, B. A. (2002). Linking extracurricular programming to academic achievement: Who benefits and why? Sociology of Education, 75(1), 69-95.

First- graders who participated in special music classes as part of an arts study saw their reading skills and math proficiency increase dramatically.
Gardiner, M. F., Fox, A., Knowles, F., & Jeffrey, D. (1996). Learning improved by arts training. Nature, 381(6580), 284-284.

2) “20 Important Benefits of Music in Our Schools”Bachelor’s Degree
A list of 20 benefits with links to a variety of music lessons and training resources from the Bachelor’s Degree website, an online informational hub for learning about college degrees.

3) Music Education StatisticsChildren’s Music Workshop
Another list of research-backed music education statistics compiled by a music education company specializing in “custom designed band and orchestra method books, Emmy award winning music videos, music education advocacy and more.” (About Children’s Music Workshop)

4) Advocacy in Action: Quick Facts and StatsMusic for All
Music for All is one of the nation’s largest music education organizations. Their mission is to “create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all.” This organization founded the well-known and influential Bands of America (BOA) and Orchestra America programs, with performances and for instrumental music programs and students. Check out their research-backed list of music advocacy statistics highlighting the benefit of music on student performance, life skills, economy and more.

5) “11 Facts About Music Education”DoSomething.org
Another research-backed list of facts compiled and listed on DoSomething.org’s website, a national and international organization with a “digital platform powering offline action”. Check out their list of music advocacy statistics. You’ll want to do something after learning about the power of music education!

6) “The Benefits Music Has on a Child’s Life”National Association of Music Parents
The National Association of Music Parents (AMP) is a “grassroot” music parent advocacy organization with a mission to “serve parents by educating them about the benefits of music education, the importance of advocacy, and the best practices of daily management of music booster organizations”. Check out their amazing list of music education statistics, quotes and polling results.

Online Sources:

  1. “Music Education and Achievement” – National Association for Music Education website:
  2. “20 Important Benefits of Music in Our Schools” – Bachelor’s Degree website:
  3. “Music Education Statistics” – Children’s Music Workshop website: https://www.childrensmusicworkshop.com/advocacy/factsandstatistics/
  4. “Advocacy Facts Concerning Music Education” – AMRO Music website: https://www.musicforall.org/who-we-are/advocacy/quick-facts
  5. “11 Facts About Music Education” – DoSomething.org website: https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-music-education
  6. “The Benefits Music Has on a Child’s Life” –National Association of Music Parents website: https://www.amparents.org/resources/music-facts/