The Importance of Music in Our LifeBy Sam Johnson
“Music Lasts A Lifetime!”
That’s the theme for “Music In Our Schools
Month” (MIOSM), an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for
Music Education which represents more than 75,000 active, retired, and
pre-service music teachers and 60,000 honor students, with chapters located in
each state of the U.S., the District of Columbia, and even in Europe.
March is the month officially designated
for this special observance, because it is the time of year when music
education becomes the focus of schools across the nation.
“Music In Our Schools Month” began as a single
statewide celebration in 1973, and has grown over the decades to encompass a
day, then a week, and then in 1985 to become a month long celebration of music
in the school and community.
The goal of this month-long celebration of
music is to raise public awareness of the importance of music education for all
children – and to remind citizens of the benefits that music brings to their
community and the impact it can make on people of all ages, especially
Here are a few facts that underscore just
how important music is:
-- Music was first authorized as a regular subject of
instruction in 1838. In 1994, the National Standards for Arts Education were
accepted by U.S. Department of Education, reaffirming the arts as being an
essential part of education.
-- In 2002, the arts, including music, were deemed a
"core academic subject" along with mathematics, science and English
in federal education policy
-- Numerous reports by acclaimed researchers and
education groups reveal that students who participate in music find success in
3 important areas: Success in School and Learning; Success in Society; and Success
Success in School and Learning
• Using 12 years of data collected by the
National Educational Longitudinal Survey (NELS) where students were studied for
the same 12-year period, the data reveals that students who were highly
involved with the arts outperformed their less-involved peers in all socioeconomic
groups. These students are more likely to attend four-year colleges, progress
to higher education faster, and get better grades.
• The College
Entrance Examination Board found that students in music scored 63 points higher
on verbal and 44 points higher on math than students with no music or arts
• U.S. Department of Education data show
that students who report consistently high levels of involvement in
instrumental music during the middle school and high school years show
significantly higher levels of math, science, and reading proficiency by grade
• Other studies show that music majors are
the most successful medical school applicants, and that overall, students who
participate in music in school have a better attitude toward learning and are
less likely to drop out of school.
Success in Society
• A 2007 Harris Interactive Poll of
working adults indicated that music education impacted five skill areas:
ability to work toward common goals, striving for excellence in group settings,
disciplined approach to solving problems, creative problem solving and
flexibility in work situations.
• A study of students involved in music
and the arts indicate that arts participation motivates them to stay in school,
and that the arts create a supportive environment that promotes constructive
acceptance of criticism and one in which it is safe to take risks.
• Other studies reveal that because of
school music programs, students connect to each other better—greater
camaraderie, fewer fights, less racism and reduced use of hurtful sarcasm
Success in Life
• A study that outlines responses for
1,150 teens, reveals the meaning and importance of music participation to
life-at-large, including the building of one’s character and life skills,
social benefits encompassing camaraderie, the acceptance of differences and
high morale at school and home, and distraction from vices such as drugs,
alcohol, smoking, gangs, sex and suicidal behaviors.
• Another study revealed that “Music is one way
for young people to connect with themselves, but
it is also a bridge for connecting with others. Through
music, we can introduce children to the richness and
diversity of the human family and to the myriad
rhythms of life."
• The conclusion from a study titled "Third Space: When
Learning Matters," found that “The
challenge to American education has never been simply to raise test scores. . .
the challenge has always been to raise citizens who are capable of active
participation in the social, cultural, political and economic life of the
world’s longest experiment in democracy, an experiment demanding a free,
educated and committed citizenry. We are amazed to discover anew the role of
the arts in realizing that vision and creating that democracy.”
Clearly then, research does show that "Music Lasts A
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