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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

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.

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.

More Music Education for Kids from Usborne Books

Classical Music Reference Book

Find out all about classical music through the ages. Discover musical royals, celebrities and children, grand shows and spectacles (including an out-of-control firework display), and an amazing variety of musical instruments along the way.  Check it out here.

Little children can hear the sounds of more than 70 musical instruments with these delightfully illustrated sound cards. There are four double-sided cards showing groups of instruments from a cello to a didgeridoo and trombone. Slot a card into the frame, then press the picture of an instrument to hear its sound.  Check it out here.

Big Keyboard Book

This book and touch-sensitive keyboard is a perfect way for children to start making music. There are ten famous tunes to play with both hands, from nursery rhymes to a theme from Swan Lake. Each key has a shape on it to show how to play the tunes and you can listen to all the tunes at the Usborne Quicklinks website to hear how they go.

Learn to play 10 simple, well-known tunes on the sturdy keyboard attached to the book. Each note is represented with a different color and a different shape, which corresponds to the same color and shape on the keyboard, allowing even young children to pick up the tunes. Children will love being able to play with both hands on this keyboard!  Check it out here.

Famous Composers Reference Book

Discover classical music through the ages and the lives of the amazing people who wrote and performed it. Find out about musical celebrities, royals and children, epic journeys, grand spectacles and riots, and amazing instruments and places along the way.  Check it out here. 

First Book about the Orchestra

Learn about the orchestra thanks to this new sound book. The sounds are embedded on the page, and everytime you press a button, a different instrument will play. Learn about the different groups of instruments (winds, strings, etc). On the last page, every group of instruments will come together to create a beautiful piece of music. QR codes included that direct users to different sounds.  Check it out here.

My First Keyboard Book

Help little fingers discover the fun of making music with the miniature keyboard and simple tunes in this enchanting book.  Check it out here.

Noisy Orchestra

Discover the world of the orchestra and press the buttons to listen to the fun and lively music as they rehearse for their big show.  Check it out here.

Children can discover the fun of playing the drums by pressing the buttons in this unique book. There are five different drum sounds and a selection of tunes to play along with.  Check it out here. 

My First Xylophone Book

Learn to play simple, well-known tunes on the real xylophone attached to the book. Each note is represented with a different color, which corresponds to the same color on the xylophone, allowing even very young children to pick out the tunes. Tunes included in this book are: Hey Diddle Diddle, Old Macdonald Had a Farm, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Frere Jacques, Three Blind Mice, Row, Row, Row Your Boat, The Grand Old Duke of York, London Bridge is Falling Down, and Jingle Bells.  Check it out here.

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