Studies have shown that children who participate in the arts programs in their schools are more likely to go to a four-year college, are less likely to drop out of school, have a higher level of discipline, and have the drive to learn new things. Music students also tend to have a strong propensity towards other subjects such as math, history, science, and language arts. Did I mention that the creativity taught in music education influences the 21st-century workplace as well? Try playing in a concert band or singing in a choir, I can’t think of a better scenario to learn team building, creativity, critical thinking, and communication skills.
If music students tend to excel in other subjects, why would you cut these vital programs? Music is foundational to the rest of the education platform – if you remove it, the rest of the education infrastructure would tumble. Many music students excel in math, science, history and English. Today’s students will become tomorrow’s accountants, therapists, doctors, office managers and small business owners.
According to physician and biologist Lewis Thomas, “Music majors are the most likely group of college grads to be admitted to medical school” (The Case for Music in the Schools, Phi Delta Kappan, February 1994). Think about that next time you go to a surgeon. Don’t you want them to have the best education that they possibly could have?
Speaking of the medical field, physical therapists and counselors are integrating more music than ever into their recovery programs. For example, a woman who has been in the spotlight recently is Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the left hemisphere of her brain. Giffords is having problems speaking since the attack due to her brain injury. By using music speech stimulation and melodic intonation therapy, therapists are able to get patients like Gabby Giffords to sing along to familiar songs. The singing in turn creates new pathways for normal speech. By repeating these singing exercises, Giffords is slowly learning to speak again. She is very fond of music and is able to sing her favorite tunes. Some patients can literally be mute and unable to say a word, but if you put a familiar song on they will sing along with it. Music is a very powerful healing source for the brain. For the full story on Gabby Giffords, click the link below.
There are many examples of how music can affect people without them even being aware of it. I am a strong advocate of keeping music in our schools – but then again, you probably are too since you are reading this blog. What are you doing this month to celebrate and make this month a little more musically special? Draw support by putting on a special performance for the school administration or by having a music history poster contest. Involve the entire arts department in your school and you can come up with some really good ideas. Feel free to share your ideas with others by commenting on this blog.
For more ideas on how you can make this month extra-special, check out the MENC website for different activities. Click here to visit the MENC website.
Remember, March is the month that draws attention to this important subject — don’t wait to make your voice heard!
Click here to read Gabrielle Giffords’ story.