It’s not news that school music programs are some of the first affected by budget cuts in our public school systems. However, at times, we may not realize the vital role that these programs have in our children’s lives.
The Journal of Research in Music Education in 1998 stated that children between the ages of 3 and 5 who received songbell lessons had increased spatial-temporal scores. What does this mean? These children have a better ability to visualize and manipulate visual patterns. These are key thinking processes for professions such as engineering, architecture, science, artist, and mathematicians.
A recent Harris Poll (University of Kansas) stated that kids who were involved in great music programs tested 22 percent higher in English and 20 percent higher in math than there peers that did not have quality music programs. The testing was based on the No Child Left Behind standards.
The College Board in 2006 noted that students (with musical training) who took the SAT scored 52 percent high in the verbal portion and 43 percent higher in the math than peers who did get music programs. This is a huge difference and should be noted among all educators who ever try to get rid of school music programs.
A great quote from Dr. John Mahlmann says: “Research confirms that music education at an early age greatly increases the likelihood that a child will grow up to seek higher education and ultimately earn a higher salary. The sad irony is that ‘No Child Left Behind’ is intended to better prepare our children for the real world, yet it’s leaving music behind despite its proven benefits. While music clearly corresponds to higher performing students and adults, student access to music education had dropped about 20 percent in recent years, thanks in large part to the constraints of the No Child Left Behind Act.”
“If you want to be a CEO, college president or even a rock star, the message from this survey is: take music. As with reading, writing and arithmetic, music should be a core academic focus because it is so vital to a well rounded education and will pay dividends later in life, no matter the career path taken.”
* Statistics and quotes taken from The National Association of Music Education. These comments were made in response to the No Child Left Behind Act in 2007 in regards to the fact that the government program neglects music education in it’s standards.