Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Music Education and Student Achievement

Music Education and Student Achievement
Image Credit:  imumpancy0 - CCO Public Domain Image - via Pixabay

The Case for Keeping Music Education in Our Schools

Music education is important for successful academic performance.  My personal experiences with my own children confirm my belief that music education is vital to student achievement.  My children showed marked improvement when music education was added to their daily routine, either within their school curriculum or through private lessons. My son’s academic performance improved when he began playing the trombone in his high school marching band. When my daughter began playing the piano, her ability to recall information improved along with her reading comprehension skills.  After a little more than one year of lessons, she now excels in every subject area.  Both children’s level of self confidence has greatly increased.  They both feel successful and now enjoy school and lead more fulfilled lives.

If you have the resources, and your child is willing, then music tuition is a great option. From classical piano to a guitar and looping pedal, every musical taste can be catered for. 

Many other parents have told me similar stories of both typical and special needs children. I am constantly hearing about how music helps their children focus, memorize things, and improve grades.
Our local teachers and administrators feel strongly that music education is directly correlated to student achievement.

Our middle school principal, Brad Brown, states, “When I was a HS principal in Calhoun GA ….. our STAR student/teacher area consisted of about 40 high schools ….every year at the awards banquet, students told a little about themselves and their plan for the future ….. I can say with confidence that about 80%+ were involved in some sort of music education (band, chorus, literary-quartet-trio, etc)”

Various teachers in our local schools state the following:

“I am a FIRM believer in music education in the schools! I have many students who don’t do well in other classes, but do very well for me. Also, I believe that music training lengthens attention span. In a world where students are bombarded with commercials every 10-15 minutes of a television show, things like music (which can go uninterrupted for 30-50 minutes sometimes) strengthen their ability to focus on one thing. Many students (even some that I don’t teach) pile in my room in the morning just to play the piano…even boys who wouldn’t be caught dead in a chorus class love music and enjoy playing an instrument.” – Ashley Conway, North Hall Middle School, Gainesville, Georgia

“Based on well over 23 years experience with hundreds and hundreds of top 10% students, I have always said that there is a strong correlation between intelligence, achievement, and music… I noticed very early in my career, especially while teaching advanced placement and honors classes, that large percentages of these students played musical instruments in the band or orchestra; sang in choir or in school plays, or used music as a basis for completing certain projects in social studies… I’m 100% convinced that the correlation is high!” – Rand Bissell, North Hall High School, Gainesville, Georgia

“I use a couple of songs in math to teach concepts. I have one for teaching mean, median, mode and range and then at the end of the last 9 weeks, I have one that teaches adding and subtracting integers. I know a couple of other teachers that use songs to teach concepts also.  My niece and nephew went to Athens Christian School and they can still sing some of the songs they used to learn formulas…” – Martha Hulsey, North Hall Middle School, Gainesville, Georgia

Although I have completed enough personal research to make my case, there is a wealth of information and research already available to anyone who wishes to educate themselves on the correlation between music education and student achievement.  An article written by Eileen Bailey in March of 2008 suggests that music helps students with Dyslexia. Her research revealed that the ability to process parts of the spoken language improved with mastering a musical instrument. When students hum to themselves or put mathematical facts or other information to music, their school performance improves. [Music Helps Children with Dyslexia, March 14, 2008, Eileen Bailey].

Many schools use Music Therapists to satisfy IEP (Individual Education Plan) goals. Music Therapists are utilized to help mainstreamed learners as well as improve communication skills and physical coordination [American Music Therapy Association, 1999, AMTA Website].

Music education helps both typical and special needs children improve performance in school. Parents, school administrators, teachers, and professionals around the nation agree. Music Education must continue to be a vital tool for improving student achievement. It is my hope that every school district in the nation will continue to make music education a priority and find a way to keep music education a part of the school curriculum.

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