The American educational system isn’t doing all that well these days. In most standard skills tests our kids are falling well behind kids from other developed countries around the world. And during this time when we should be focusing more time, energy and resources into improving this situation, the opposite is actually happening. Money is being pulled from educational funding, and the arts are the first thing to be cut. There may come a day when art class, theater programs, bands and orchestras are no longer a common part of growing up, and that’s a sad thing indeed. There will always be people standing up in support of the arts, but music education may be the most important of them all. Although not everyone who learns an instrument or plays in the school band will go on to become a professional musician, the skills and abilities that grow out of music education help kids in all other areas of life. Here are just a few of the reasons why music education is so important for kids.
Younger students who take part in music education show far stronger reasoning, language, memorization and coordination skills. Learning to read music, even in its simplest form, develops the same areas of the brain that handle complex reasoning and language skills. Music has even been shown to help kids with learning disabilities bridge the gap with their classmates. Memorization constantly comes into play with music, whether through learning how to read music or remembering note and chord combinations. And the fact that those skills bring together mental and physical ability they also naturally increase coordination. Hand-eye coordination will be vastly improved, just as with sports.
Music education also teaches children about overcoming obstacles and maintaining dedication. Unless a child is one of those rare, natural musical geniuses, learning even basic singing or instrumentation is incredibly difficult. Kids who take part in music education get to watch their improvement, day by day and month by month. For children who aren’t good at sports it’s a great way to reward dedication and instill a sense of achievement. Improvement will only come if you put the work in, and that’s an important lesson to learn.
Studying music also helps children develop skills that easily translate into other subjects and future careers. Studies have shown that kids experienced in performing music consistently outperform others on the SAT. And that’s in both the verbal and math sections. Student musicians develop more advanced spatial intelligence, which comes into play in advanced mathematics, as well as creative thinking skills that can be applied to a wide range of disciplines. Kids that have regular music classes or take part in organized school bands also learn how to work within a team. A band is only as strong as its weakest member, as each note comes together to make up the whole. That level of teamwork takes experience, which is exactly what kids get in music education. And that teamwork will aid them in whatever career they eventually enter.
Finally, kids who are exposed to music education actually become better members of society. Studies have shown that kids in an orchestra or band are far less likely to begin abusing drugs, not only while in the program but at any time in their lives. Music helps you develop emotionally, and often expands your worldview. Beautiful music comes from all over the world, and music appreciation will create empathy for foreign cultures that the world sorely needs. Music helps kids have less anxiety and a better sense of self-esteem. It’s just obvious that this must be protected. As good as music education online can be it’ll never replace the real thing. Music and the arts simply have too big an impact on our children to be allowed to disappear from our schools.