The Importance Of Music Educat Essay, Research Paper
A few weekends ago I was talking to a relative of mine who happens to teach music at the local elementary school in my hometown. We were discussing her students and how the year was going for her so far. She had nothing but positive things to say about the children, however I could tell that something was wrong. She explained to me that a lot of music teachers in her department were losing their jobs due to cut backs in the school budget. According to the board of education music is not important enough to put forth the money to support it. They feel that reading, writing and arithmetic are the things that children need to focus on the most. They seem to be looking past the fact that we are not trying to raise a society of robots who eat, sleep, and think alike. We are trying to raise individuals with unique thoughts and creative minds as well as being intelligent people. They are looking past the fact that music nurtures the mind and soul and music education could be a simple solution to the problems in society today. I am a secondary ed. English major and most would think that I d be on the side of the budget-cutters, stating that music should go; but in all reality, and I m sure I can speak for others in that I don t know what I d be without the influence of music in my life. The benefits of learning about music at a young age are incredible. It helps children become well rounded; it supplies discipline; it helps children interact with others; it helps keep a grasp on to our culture; it gives children a way to express themselves and vent. There are so many positive aspects involved in music education that it is unbelievable that it is even an option on the ballot of what gets cut from the budget. This paper will discuss the benefits of music education.
While studying the education of the ancient Greeks I learned that their society was based on the foundation that an intelligent individual not only had skills in mathematics and knowledge of literature but they also were educated in the arts. They frequently studied music in order to maintain a well-rounded education. We have based our education system on the ways of the Greeks and Romans, so why is it changing so suddenly? In a 1996 Academy Award speech by Richard Dreyfus he gave an excellent reasoning on why we must maintain the ways of the past in the education of our children today Perhaps we’ve all misunderstood the reason we learn music, and all the arts, in the first place. It is not only so a student can learn the clarinet, or another student can take an acting lesson. It is that for hundreds of years it has been known that teaching the arts, along with history and math and biology, help to create The Well-Rounded Mind that western civilization, and America, has been grounded on. America’s greatest achievements — in science, in business, in popular culture, would simply not be attainable without an education that encourages achievement in all fields. It is from that creativity and imagination that the solutions to our political and social problems will come. We need that Well-Rounded Mind, now. Without it, we simply make more difficult the problems we face.
I feel that straying from the ways of the past by letting go of music education will make the children of our nation suffer in many ways.
Stimulating the mind of the child is important to all subjects in education. There are proven facts that exposure not only to music education but to music itself will most definitely be intellectually stimulating to a child no matter what subject they are dealing with. Beginning in the mid-90s the country was busy investigating the facts behind the value of music to a student s mind. The Scientific Journal of Nature recently published the results of a study performed by researchers at the Center for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California, Irvine. The study included thirty-six students. They were each given three sets of standard spatial reasoning tasks that appear on I.Q. tests. The students had one of three listening experiences prior to completing the spatial reasoning tasks: 10 minutes of listening to Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major; 10 minutes of listening to a relaxation tape; or 10 minutes of silence. Studies showed that performance improved for tasks immediately following the experience of listening to Mozart. The performance of subjects in the Mozart condition was eight to nine points higher than their performance in the other two conditions.
The researchers suggest that the complexity of the music is the key to the higher I.Q. scores. The details and intricacy of the music could improve abstract reasoning by reinforcing certain complex patterns of neural activity. Gordon Shaw, one of the researchers in that study, proposes that the music is priming the areas of the brain that may be involved with other tasks. The positive effect of music on the intelligence of students is not permanent; it lasts only about 15 minutes. The researchers also suggested that making music, rather than simply listening to it, might have a longer-lasting impact on intelligence. In any case, the implications for the teaching of music from the early grades through high school are significant.
The importance of music in a child’s life can be much less dramatic than increasing intelligence, but even more meaningful. Music is also a link to our culture. A primary purpose of including music in the school curriculum is to disperse its message throughout the culture. Through music, students learn the rich and wordless dimensions of their own cultural heritage. They discover in the musical heritage of other cultures a common ground that minimizes national boundaries and language differences. Without the knowledge of music certain cultural aspects may be lost.
Music has helped children in many other ways as well. Out of all other subjects music has the most experience with cooperative learning. While practicing a musical instrument may be an individual experience, most musical performances take place in cooperative settings, such as choirs, marching bands, orchestras, and musicals or operas. The success of each of these kinds of performance depends on the cooperation of a group of individuals, sometimes a very large group. Teaching children to work well in group settings comes hand in hand with music education.
Another positive aspect derived from music education is discipline. How can we ignore the virtues that the discipline of music teaches young people? The U.S, as a whole, is working to raise a nation of better-disciplined and harder-working citizens. Where better to start than in the schools? Music is the one area of the curriculum that has already shown itself capable of doing the job. Ask former students about the subject that best taught them stick-with-things, the value of hard work, and the importance of self-discipline. From those lucky enough to have taken part, the answer will be music.
Music education also shows students that practice makes perfect. It is impossible to master a band instrument without considerable discipline and many hours of practice. This also can apply to homework as well. Homework has never gone out of style in the music curriculum. It is imperative to the success of the individual. Once the child understands that, they will understand that being responsible and practicing things over and over will in fact make them more successful in no matter what subject they might come across.
After looking at all of these facts I don t know how music education it is not considered one of the most important subjects in a students curriculum. Still, far too many school boards and administrators deny that the study of music is one of the basics of education. They want our children to excel in math and sciences so we can be compared to the Japanese and other nations. Should we risk letting our culture diminish, by ignoring music, just so we can compete with other nations? I don t think so. Efforts are put forth to help hold onto music as an important tool in the education of our children but it is slowly being replaced by other subjects that are said to be more important. Here is an example of a poll taken on the importance of music education in school. The results speak for themselves.
How important is it to have music education in school?
Very important (249) 90%
Somewhat important (12) 4%
Average importance (6) 2%
Not very important (4) 1%
Not important at all (7) 3%
278 Total Votes
Click Here to create your own FREE Poll Now!
If society feels so strongly about this topic then why are music teachers losing their jobs left and right? Our society needs to step back and take a look at the benefits of music in a child s life. We need to realize that music is more than London Bridges Falling Down and Ring Around the Rosie ; it is a history of every culture, a tool for enlightenment, a model for responsibility, an escape from stresses, a form of expression, a way to make new friends, and so much more. There is no way that we can keep denying this from our children. We should all work to keep music education as a major course of study in the core of our student s curriculum.