The Importance Of Music Education
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As a young boy, Kevin Alcoforado was given the opportunity of a substantial music education at a small private school in Hopewell Junction. Throughout the 5 years he spent in that classroom, Kevin learned valuable life lessons and skills that he still uses today. The multiple teachers at his school instilled in him the love, passion, and appreciation he has for music today and he would not be where he is without music education. Since he is choosing music as a major in college, Kevin is thankful beyond belief that he had an emotional outlet to pursue what matters most to him, and to be able to have a support system that has helped him through the worst times in his life. In that classroom, many years ago, Kevin became completely and utterly engulfed in the push and pull of music’s pedagogy, and would not be where he is today without it.
Throughout one’s life, fundamental and rudimentary skills come to light in situations where we need them most. Where do these skills come from, you might ask? They come from the basic skills taught in the small, crowded, dusty music room all the way down your elementary school’s hallway. Normally, we could give credit to other classes for these skills, but if we take a deep dive into the world of music education and its importance, we can see that these skills do come from music education. Music Education is a vital part of public and private schools around the world and without it, the very structure of a person is incomplete.
Melissa T. Arasi, a music teacher, says in her dissertation that her “influence of school music on adult life stems from my reflection on my own high school choral teaching experience.” This teacher struggles to balance the teaching of music for performances and the theory needed for higher levels of music. She realizes the importance of teaching such children their own styles of music as well. Whether it be pop rock, classical, or rap, this teacher finds it important to let individuality be shown and heard. If this was not the case, and this teacher was not able to take her liberal approach to music to the classroom, these students would have a lack of an outlet that could be used to help them grow. To continue, this teacher found it important to teach life skills. “Responsibility, cooperation, high standards, tolerance, broadmindedness and self-confidence…”(Arasi) were traits students were taught in her high school classroom.
Memorization is one life skill learned in the confines of a music classroom. The NAfME organization gives a brief explanation of how memorization helps students, by saying “Even when performing with sheet music, student musicians are constantly using their memory to perform. The skill of memorization can serve students well in education and beyond.” Another skill gained through music education is language and reasoning. “ Students who have early musical training will develop the areas of the brain related to language and reasoning. The left side of the brain is better developed with music, and songs can help imprint information on young minds.”(nafme.org) Lastly, one of the most important life skills learned through music education is success in society. NAfME.org tells us that “ Music is the fabric of our society, and music can shape abilities and character. Students in band or orchestra are less likely to abuse substances over their lifetime. Musical education can greatly contribute to children’s intellectual development as well.”
Taking a look at the negatives of music education in schools, we can see all the downsides and effects of it. Teachers are sometimes forced to be music teachers as well as regular ones, but they do not have the time or training to teach both. The curriculum is so crowded with material that teachers just do not have the energy and time to take into account the needs of their students in regards to music education. Alexander Crooke from the University of Melbourne says “Some may argue the introduction of specialist teachers has addressed this issue.” Although most schools may be able to afford a teacher like this, the reality is that most cannot afford them. And if given the opportunity to get a specialist teacher, they must choose between LOTE and Physical Education. One of the comments on this article, brings up another good point. Sports have always, and always will be the center of media attention. She says that students from all over the state participate in a music festival, but no media attention attracted it. She continues to say that if it had been a sporting event, the media would be covering it from beginning to end.
John McDaniel argues that music can hinder learning in other subjects. He says, “students will spend too much time on practicing, trips and performances, which will affect their ability to do their homework and study.” Coupled with the fact that competition is not good for the classroom areas. John McDaniel argues that “students will spend too much time on practicing, trips and performances, which will affect their ability to do their homework and study.” which is a very good point. Lastly, the issue of stolen items also comes up in his argument for music education. He argues that music education needs to provide students with expensive music and materials for the students to either bring back and forth, or leave in the classroom. McDaniel says “This presents the opportunity to have their instruments and materials damaged or stolen.”
On the other hand, in regards to competition, it is good for children to experience some competition in the everyday classroom setting. In order to grow as either a business major or a lawyer, students must adapt the principal of competing for their goals. Also, in regards to spending too much time on music, we can argue that it is good for the students to spend so much time on their music. If they do, they will have more skills for other subjects.
Although the counterclaims give good and solid arguments, Jessica Presta gives us a good acrostic. Math, langUage, hiStory, readIng, and sCience are the terms she uses to further her claim that music education is essential in the everyday classroom. Starting with math, Jessica says, “In the music classroom, I would teach a multiplication rap and would all of a sudden see the light bulb go off in some kids minds who were struggling.” This is a genius way to introduce an everyday life skill in the classroom. Students will need multiplication almost every day for the rest of their lives.
She then goes on to say “We would do a composer of the month and would talk about the countries on the map of where that particular person was from to form connections to social studies.” Forming connections to social studies is another adult skill one may need if going into communications. Furthermore, to increase her students’ knowledge of languages, she says “We would learn songs from other languages, and although it wasn’t always spoken accurately, the kids learned that music from around the world is influenced by the culture that those people are a part of.” Students and children will have a better understand if the roots of words and sentences. Being exposed to music can also enhance a child’s ability to listen to people, therefore giving kids a stronger foundation for learning. Music around the world is beautiful and the way it has adapted to fit cultures is magnificent. Knowing how different cultures use music is important because you will learn respect and you will learn to love in different ways. People with heightened knowledge of music education have a better sense of accomplishment when it comes to math and developed subjects.
Jessica says music can help us emotionally too. “Music helps us feel and helps us express ourselves”(Presta) When students are emotionally stable, their social life comes easier to them. Emotions rule our lives whether we like it or not, and even listening to a happy song when your sad, can boost the amounts of dopamine in the brain, leaving us in a better state of mind. As one gets addicted to cigarettes and alcohol, people can get addicted to dopamine, and the feeling of happiness.
In regards to SAT scores and standardized testing, music has an impact on them too. Donald A. Hodges says “students who participate in music education frequently do better than their peers on many measures of academic achievement such as grade-point averages and standardized tests like the SAT or ACT.” Statistically speaking, Donald says “13,327 high school sophomores” who participated in the music education in their school “reported higher grades in English, math, history, and science.”
To reiterate, students who participate in studies in music have higher scores in developed and rigorous subjects, and they feel more confident in skills such as mathematics. When a student chooses to have music as their career, they often have a more fulfilling and happy career. Also, when it comes to any chorus in or outside school, people are united. The beautiful magic that music makes is uniting when people come together to sing.
When talking about the brain in and of itself, it is more powerful when exposed to music at a younger age. When learning about the cognitive neuroscience of music, you understand that spatial intelligence is also a lot more present in children. So children can form better, clearer, and more intelligent pictures in their head when in certain situations. For example, in geometry it is essential for students to picture shapes in their head to figure out certain mathematical problems.
To expand on the subject of risk taking and self-confidence, David Guion argues that “Self-confidence entails trust in our abilities.” which is another essential skill to have outside the classroom. If one is not confident in themselves, how can anyone expect them to perform at a level that is socially acceptable? He also argues that “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” In other words, doing something that involves risk taking is worth doing. If people do not take risks, how will they learn from their inevitable mistakes and grow as, not only an individual, but as a worker in the field they are in? In conclusion, music is all about helping students take risks and being more confident in themselves. Both of which, are skills that are imperative for functioning every day.
Musical ability is another thing that is not very popular anymore. Many people believe that the ability of music cannot be taught, but inherited genetically. The teacher is given the responsibility to hone these musical skills, and provide a large repertoire of music for students to have access to. After increasing the student’s repertoire, their memory is heightened and they are more prone to have better memorization skills for other classes.
Children also just plain love music. When a child hears music for the first time, one can only imagine the emotions that run through their tiny veins. Every single children’s toy has music embedded into it to make that object seem fun and enjoyable. Children ride around on their musical scooters, or they put tiny shapes into their respective holes to receive a prize in the form of a congratulatory ballad played for them. Children can laugh and smile more when they hear music, and music can make them happier. To put their children to sleep, parents sing a lullaby. To indicate that food is coming, the parents make a purcossionary sound with their mouths to replicate the sound of a train or a plane coming to deliver them food.
If you were to sit in a dark room, with no one around for miles, one of the only things to make you feel better is music. Music is the warmth on a cold, winter night. Music is the sunshine on a rainy day. Music is love. Music Education in the public and private school system is a vital part of student’s lives. Without even the slightest bit of music education, students would not be able to memorize, read, or understand things as well as if they had the education. Music education gives students an outlet for creativity that otherwise would not be given to them. If music education was not present, many children would not be able to hone their gifts and practice them, and nurture them. They would be stuck trying to fit into an educational system that values knowledge of mathematics and that values your ability to understand complex sciences rather than your abilities in other subjects. Students need an artistic outlet to be not only stable in school, but also to be mentally stable as well. Education in the arts gives students an opportunity to express themselves and their individuality in ways science and social studies cannot. It gives them emotional peace and lets them experience feelings and emotions you can only get from music.