Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Importance of MUSIC in education.

With the current budget crisis, one of the proposed cuts involves our MUSIC programs. Can you believe that? Music is a corner stone to education, in my opinion, and should be held in high regard. Actually, music plays a HUGE role in what we now consider the only thing important (math, reading and science). In my quest to provide relevant proof on the importance of music in education I found this fantastic article. I thought I would pass it along, you can find the article HERE. Below is what the article states.


Many people underestimate music education in the schools today, as well as the teachers are trained in music. However, music education is extremely important, and so are the teachers.

In college, music education is one of the largest, most dense programs. Teachers have to learn general education materials, psychology, and technique. They must learn to play every instrument, they must learn music history, they must learn music theory, they must learn composition, they must learn instrument repair and teaching methodologies, they must learn conducting, they must learn about all the repertoire that's out there, and so much more.

Music students, therefore, learn an awful lot. They learn a lot of music history along the way. This includes "modes," which were used in churches back in Medieval times, during the development of music. They are still used today in jazz and modern band/orchestra/movie score compositions. Students learn about the historical events that were taking place when the music they play was written. They learn what the music was typically used for (was it sung? was it an opera? dancing music? for royal families or poorer ones?). So much of our culture is absorbed in music and has been for centuries.

Music also helps with math and science. Students learn to count, keep a steady rhythm, and how to multiply and divide (to figure out how long each note is). They even learn a little bit of algebra (the "dot" on the note is exactly half the value of that note. Students need to be able to figure out how much the "dot" equals in each case). Students also use science to help them discover what sounds good together and what doesn't. As they learn, they use prior knowledge to figure out what else might sound good together, which can lead to composing. Students also need science to understand something called the "overtone series," which Pythagoras came up with back around Medieval times. This theory is how music is produced by vibration and why.

Students learn a lot about languages. Many choral songs are written in other languages, including ancient ones. Students must learn to translate these works to understand what they are singing about. Some songs are famous literary poems or short works set to music; so students are exposed to that. Also, the markings in music (how fast, how loud, what style) are typically written in Italian. Students learn to understand a little bit of Italian in order to interpret the markings in their music.

Students learn an incredible amount of coordination through music -- it isn't unlike being an athlete. Students must use fine and gross motor skills in order to play an instrument. Singers and wind players must learn breath control and be in good shape to play.

Students learn about art. Some very famous pieces were written about important pieces of art, and students learn about the artists, pieces, and styles as they're playing the music.

Music education also brings higher thinking to our children. It allows them to think about complex patterns (where does my part fit into the whole? How can I make my part sound better? What are some tiny adjustments I can make to adjust tone or intonation? How does this music and these different parts fit together?). It almost leads to a philosophical environment. Students have to be absolutely aware of what every other musician does at every time. In that way, it fosters cooperation, as well. No musician is independent of the whole, and yet each musician is a part of that whole, with a unique part and sound.

Students tend to foster close relationships with other musicians and with their music teachers. They tend to have a higher aptitude and sometimes capability for learning. Music teachers, because they don't worry so much about "state standards" or tests, can focus on what's really important: learning about music.

As one can see, music is very important in our lives. It is frequently underestimated and thought of as "easy" or "play time," but it's not that at all. Students frequently appear to be having fun while they are making music because music IS fun (though not easy). Music can portray any mood, and it takes a special, interested person in order to make it good. Music is very important to education.

Written by Catherine Hillard - © 2002 Pagewise