This piece, written by Carolyn Philips – former Executive Director of the Norwalk Youth Symphony, is perhaps one of the most direct, powerful, and accurate ways we’ve ever seen to show the tangible benefits of music. Young people grow in so many positive ways when music is a part of their educational endeavors.
When we founded The Gift of Music Foundation, it was important to us to be sure that ALL kids have, at the very least, the opportunity to reap these important benefits. Music Education is not a luxury, and it’s not “separate” from the old-fashioned idea of “reading, writing and ‘rithmetic.” In many ways it is an essential part of making sure people can succeed in all of them. We’re dedicated to making sure music remains firmly embedded in our educational priorities, and we thank you for joining us on this mission.
The orginal article is found here: http://www.norwalkyouthsymphony.org/about/benefits_of_music_ed.aspx
THE 12 BENEFITS OF MUSIC EDUCATION
1. Early musical training helps develop brain areas involved in language and reasoning. It is thought that brain development continues for many years after birth. Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways. Linking familiar songs to new information can also help imprint information on young minds.
2. There is also a causal link between music and spatial intelligence (the ability to perceive the world accurately and to form mental pictures of things). This kind of intelligence, by which one can visualize various elements that should go together, is critical to the sort of thinking necessary for everything from solving advanced mathematics problems to being able to pack a bookbag with everything that will be needed for the day.
3. Students of the arts learn to think creatively and to solve problems by imagining various solutions, rejecting outdated rules and assumptions. Questions about the arts do not have only one right answer.
4. Recent studies show that students who study the arts are more successful on standardized tests such as the SAT.
5. A study of the arts provides children with an internal glimpse of other cultures and teaches them to be empathetic towards the people of these cultures. This development of compassion and empathy, as opposed to development of greed and a “me first” attitude, provides a bridge across cultural chasms that leads to respect of other races at an early age.
6. Students of music learn craftsmanship as they study how details are put together painstakingly and what constitutes good, as opposed to mediocre, work. These standards, when applied to a student’s own work, demand a new level of excellence and require students to stretch their inner resources.
7. In music, a mistake is a mistake; the instrument is in tune or not, the notes are well played or not, the entrance is made or not. It is only by much hard work that a successful performance is possible. Through music study, students learn the value of sustained effort to achieve excellence and the concrete rewards of hard work.
8. Music study enhances teamwork skills and discipline. In order for an orchestra to sound good, all players must work together harmoniously towards a single goal, the performance, and must commit to learning music, attending rehearsals, and practicing.
9. Music provides children with a means of self-expression. Now that there is relative security in the basics of existence, the challenge is to make life meaningful and to reach for a higher stage of development. Everyone needs to be in touch at some time in his life with his core, with what he is and what he feels. Self-esteem is a by-product of this self-expression.
10. Music study develops skills that are necessary in the workplace. It focuses on “doing,” as opposed to observing, and teaches students how to perform, literally, anywhere in the world. Employers are also looking for multi-dimensional workers with the sort of flexible and supple intellects that music education helps to create, as described above.
11. Music performance teaches young people to conquer fear and to take risks. A little anxiety is a good thing, and something that will occur often in life. Dealing with it early and often makes it less of a problem later. Risk-taking is essential if a child is to fully develop his or her potential.
12. An arts education exposes children to the incomparable.
Copyright © Carolyn Phillips.