Why Learn a Musical Instrument?
What we know from Research:
Participation in school music programs fosters 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, problem solving and teamwork. Music For All , Inc. says "Students reflect on failures and successes through the creative process, and derive a sense of their own competencies, interests, and challenges."
Music instruction helps students develop their physical coordination and listening abilities
Even when accounting for socioeconomic status, students who participate in the arts are more likely to attend their classes, view school in a positive light, and become more invested in the culture of their school and community (according to research conducted by Dr. Forsythe & Dr. Kinney)
Music-specific instruction results in higher math proficiency for students of both high and low socioeconomic status (Forsythe & Kinney)
There are more than 400 competitive high school youth orchestras across the United States. Participation in these orchestras can look good on students' resumes and college/job applications. (American String Teachers Association)
Individuals who are musically trained show better working memory abilities than those who are not. Working memory allows for mental arithmetic and reading comprehension. (Music training and working memory: An ERP study, J. Neuropsychologia, 2011)
Music Education brings people together. The League of American Orchestras points out performing in an orchestra unites the people of a community together regardless of their background, and that the presence of music ensembles within a community indicates cultural strength and fosters a sense of local pride
89% of teachers and 82% of parents rate music education as a powerful means of fostering student creativity (National Association for Music Merchants)
Testimonials on the Value of Music Education:
"Being a part of band and choir programs during middle and high school not only gave me something fun to look forward to every day, but allowed me to build lifelong friendships and helped me develop into the person I am today. I became a part of a community of students and teachers who cared about both the success of us as musicians, but also our success outside of music and beyond high school. Many of my friends from band and choir were also in my other classes, so we were able to help each other with difficult assignments. Being in music ensembles has also immensely improved my leadership, creativity, and problem-solving skills. After high school, I even joined concert band and athletic band in college which allowed me to travel, make friends, and continue my passion for music even though I was not a music major. My middle and high school music programs truly changed my life for the better and I would encourage any student to give it a try!"
- Hayley Svensson, PhD candidate in Psychology at Rutgers University
"Music is something I believe is incredibly important. It can come through all sorts of genres and cultures, but regardless of what it sounds like or how it's made, music portrays life. Music education is something that has been a big part of my life. From singing the nutcracker in elementary school to playing symphony orchestra pieces in college, learning about music has shaped who I am. While I am a very analytical and "STEM-oriented" person, music education has helped me to explore other parts of myself and see the richness in art. The beauty music contains and the power of its portrayal are essential to learn about"
-Vicente Iglesias, Undergraduate student in Economics and Statistics at Rice University
"Making music has changed my life in so many ways but the most salient being the way in which I communicate and view others. Making music connects us as humans on emotional, intellectually and personal levels. Music has created a space where I feel comfortable and free while allowing me to share my love of music with those around me. Music teaches so much more than just notes on a page. Music allows us to communicate across language, and without language. Participating in music shaped me into who I am today and allowed me to create memories and friendships to last a lifetime."
-Nicole Conte, Graduate student at the University of Cincinnati
Influential Leaders on the Value of Music Education:
“Music, of all the arts, stands in a special region, unlit by any star but its own, and utterly without meaning… except its own.” -Leonard Bernstein, composer and conductor
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” -Plato, Greek philosopher
“The life of the arts…is close to the center of a nation’s purpose – and is a test to the quality of a nation’s civilization.” -John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America
“My new discovery [theory of relativity] is the result of musical perception.” - Albert Einstein, physicist
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” -Victor Hugo, poet and novelist
“The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music.” -Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States of America