The Value That Music Education Adds To The Learning Process

music teacher with students

Music is universal and is found in various forms across all the cultures and nations of the world. Even the remotest of tribes deep in forests such as the Amazon are found to have their own musical preferences.

A lot of research has been done on music to discover the reason why it seems to be present all over the world. Over the years, music has been found to have amazing benefits to the wellbeing of the human race.

General benefits of music

Music has been found to aid in children’s development, that is, those who got early exposure to music were found to have better cognitive skills.

woman playing the trumpet
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It is also being used in the medical practice to aid in the healing process through music therapy. Classical music has been reported to have amazing health benefits such as treating heart ailments, brain dysfunctions, depression and many other health complications.

Arts vs. Sciences

Apart from the general benefits that music has brought into our lives, there is a special place that music education plays in the life of those who get such training. Nevertheless, there has been a trend toward phasing out the arts from education systems. The following post describes the challenges that music education has been facing for quite a while now:

In 2001, the No Child Left Behind Act identified music as a ‘core subject’—just not one worthy of testing. This meant that schools struggling to improve math and reading scores in order to retain funding found that their arts programs were the easiest ones to divert resources from, or to cut altogether. Via Sonic Scoop

The question is therefore raised: why is it that arts programs seem to be given less emphasis compared with science subjects? Could it be that we have misconceptions about arts and sciences altogether?

an adults music program
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A keen look into the finer benefits of music education offers a host of reasons why this preference of sciences over arts ought not to be so. The following post explains this in detail:

A CHILD’S BRAIN DEVELOPS FASTER WITH EXPOSURE TO MUSIC EDUCATION

A two-year study by researchers at the Brain and Creativity Institute (BCI) at the University of Southern California shows that exposure to music and music instruction accelerates the brain development of young children in the areas responsible for language development, sound, reading skill and speech perception.

The study of 6-7-year-old children began in 2012, when neuroscientists started monitoring a group of 37 children from an underprivileged neighbourhood of Los Angeles….The results showed that the auditory systems of the children in the music programme had accelerated faster than the other children not engaged in music. Via Music Education Works

It is clear that music education is of great benefit to children’s development and isn’t it obvious that exposure to music and the arts will be beneficial to their sciences as well?

How Music Education And Sciences Work Together

With the ongoing debate on arts vs. sciences and which one should be given more emphasis, those who are passionate about both have long been seeking for a solution to this debate. The following declaration from way back in 1927 probably explains how long this issue has been a concern:

“We favor the inclusion of music in the curriculum on an equality with other basic subjects. We believe that with the growing complexity of civilization, more attention must be given to the arts, and that music offers possibilities as yet but partially realized for developing an appreciation of the finer things of life.”

—First Resolution of the Dallas Meeting of The Department of Superintendence, 1927 Via Sonic Scoop

music lesson in progress
Image Courtesy Of Flickr

The good news is that these efforts have not gone down the drain. Individuals and groups have consistently sought for a better approach to education that will integrate both sciences and arts. The following post describes the new developments in the U.S education system, offering some insight into how to end the long-standing debate:

Educators want to pair math and music in integrated teaching method

As a child, before he started playing jazz, composer and musical icon Herbie Hancock was fond of taking things apart and putting them back together. He was perpetually inquisitive and analytical, a quality that carried from his days of tinkering with clocks and watches to his playing of music, where he threw himself into jazz as a teen.

Hancock later studied electrical engineering at Grinnell College before starting his jazz career full-time. He says there is an intrinsic link between playing music and building things, one that he thinks should be exploited in classrooms across the country, where there has been a renewed emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Via Washington Post

As described in the post above, there is a possibility of having a holistic approach to learning. This would lead to graduates whose potential is fully exploited and who have a balanced life. Who knows what that could mean for the society at large and the quality of life that will come about if this is taken seriously?

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Related Articles:

New Education Law Would Include Music As A Core Subject

music-edu-1The U.S. Senate is expected to take a final vote Wednesday on a law that would replace the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, better known as No Child Left Behind.

The Every Student Succeeds Act includes music as a core subject – along with English, math, science and history – for the first time.

Cecil Wilder, the executive director of the Georgia Music Educators Association, says that’s good news for students here. Via Wabe

 

How should Minn. honor Prince? Fund music education

music-edu-2Minnesota could make purple its official state color to honor the memory of Prince. It could name a new transit line the “purple line.” It could find a street somewhere and call it Prince Street.

Here’s another idea: It could better support music in public schools.

For a generation now, music has been sacrificed at the altar of sports and other activities, even though there’s ample evidence that music education instills a better math ability. Via Classical MPR

 

Music is a lifesaver. Every child should have a chance to play

music-edu-3It isn’t always clever to follow the example of Americans. They love guns, their steaks are too big, they fought against free healthcare, they’re more or less obliged to say their prayers, and a frightening number of them admire Donald Trump. But when it comes to music in schools, they are streets ahead of us. Because their Senate has just approved the Every Student Succeeds Act, which will reduce over-testing, return power to local districts, and make music a core subject. Yes, music!

No such luck here, with endless testing, teachers leaving in droves and the National Plan for Music Education in tatters. It promised that every child would learn a musical instrument. Fat chance. Try taking a child out of class for 15 minutes nowadays for an individual music lesson, as we used to in the 70s.  Via The Guardian