kids in class
Image Courtesy of Flickr

Music brings a certain invaluable benefit to a child’s education that cannot be overstated. Heaps of scientific research are available that prove a music-rich education is not just critical for a child’s cognitive function, but also for his or her academic performance. In other words, a child will learn better for the simple reason that music is part of his or her school’s curriculum.

Beyond academics, however, are benefits that may not always be mentioned when talking about the value of music education, as Katherine Damkohler points out:

While there is clear evidence of music education improving student academics, not as much has been written about music’s multiplier effect. Music is a powerful tool that can be harnessed for long-lasting benefits that cannot be overlooked in any discussions about education reform. Via Huffington Post

Unfortunately, even scientific evidence doesn’t seem to be enough to ensure that music education stays in the curriculum. As education budget pressures increase, music programs are among the worst hit as public education tends more toward narrow curriculums and standardized testing.

music studentsAs educators, we are constantly tasked with doing more with less. In an era of dwindling education budgets, offering music education in schools gives administrators a leverageable resource to gain greater return on their overall efforts. Via Huffington Post

The ultimate losers, however, are the students, who become less engaged and are less prepared for the demands of the global economy that require high levels of creativity for success.

I have seen firsthand the knock-on effect of an arts-rich education in engaging students. I’m not talking about a one-off music class or short-term residencies but comprehensive, sequential music instruction for all children. This integrated approach takes commitment but the rewards are invaluable reaping a multitude of benefits. Via Huffinton Post

school children playing violin
Photograph: Antonio Zazueta Olmos

So what is this ripple effect that music has beyond the classroom. Well, for one, kids are more likely to develop high self-esteem and self-confidence when exposed to music education. It’s also been observed that music students participate more in extracurricular activities, and are even less likely to drop out of school.

And it’s not just the parents and teachers that believe music education improves children’s social, emotional and creative development; the students also see that link.

At Education Through Music, we believe that all children should have access to high-quality music education as a core subject in school. We go a step further and align the music curriculum with what is being taught in other classrooms, including math, science, social studies and language arts. The tangible impact of an integrated approach is impressive.

The majority of our partner-school teachers agree that music education positively impacts students learning. Our proprietary research confirms that students are more engaged, have higher attendance rates and better academic achievement. Engaged students are more likely to reach their true academic and individual potential. Via Huffington Post

music in school
Image Courtesy of Sonata of Awakening

I’ll say it again. Music education brings with it so many benefits that it would be detrimental to the value of our children’s education to exclude music from our schools. As Damkohler puts it:

Harnessing music as a dynamic educational tool is essential to the future of our children’s academic achievement and future success in life. That is why it is so important that we not overlook music’s multiplier effect in discussions about education reform. We must bring music back to education because music is essential to revitalizing education in our country and improving children’s lives. Via Huffington Post

And if you’d like hard evidence on the benefits of music education, here’s a great resource you can use: National Association for Music Education: All Research

Featured Image: Image Credit

Related Articles:

Brain Development Study Shows Learning Music Has Enormous Benefits

education newsA recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry has assessed the extent to which playing a musical instrument is associated with brain development among healthy youths. This study has been called “the largest investigation of the association between playing a musical instrument and brain development” and the team found that musical training might also help kids focus their attention, control their emotions, and diminish their anxiety, according to ScienceDaily. Via Education News

Senate Passes Every Child Achieves Act, with Music and Arts as Core Subjects, Intact


RESTON, VA (July 16, 2015)—The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is deeply pleased with this afternoon’s development that the United States Senate has passed its bipartisan Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization proposal, the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), by a final vote count of 81 to 17. The Senate’s action today is an important step forward in ensuring that all students—regardless of their socioeconomic status—experience the demonstrable positive impact that music education has on learning and life. Via NAfME

Test scores are important, but so is music education

detroit free pressDespite glitzy talent shows like “The Voice” or “American Idol,” music is less a road to riches and fame than it is a path to real learning for countless kids in communities across the nation.

When children study music, they are developing the part of their brains they use for language and reasoning. Music education is linked to spatial intelligence and creativity. It requires listening, then learning how to weave disparate ideas. Again and again, research shows music education is a critical component of the overall learning process. Via Detroit Free Press