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Why Music Education

Why Music Education? 

Music is a Science...It is exact, specific, and it demands exact acoustics.  A conductor's full score is a chart, a graph which indicates frequencies, intensities, volume changes, melody, and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of time.  

Music is Mathematical...  It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions which must be done instantaneously, not worked out on paper. 

Music is a Foreign Language...Most of the terms are in Italian, German, or French; and the notation is certainly not English - but a highly developed kind of shorthand that uses symbols  to represent ideas.  The semantics of music is the most complete and universal language. 

Music is History...   Music usually reflects the environment and times of its creation, often even the country and or cultural feeling. 

Music is Physical Education...  It requires fantastic coordination of fingers, hands, arms, lip, cheek, and facial muscles in addition to extraordinary control of the diaphragmatic, back, stomach, and chest muscles, which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and the mind interprets. 

Music Develops Insight and Demands Research... Music is all these things, but most of all, Music Is Art...  It allows a human being to take all these, dry, technically boring, (but difficult) techniques and use them to create emotion.  That is one thing science cannot duplicate; humanism, feeling, emotion, call it what you will.

Music...A Part Of living...   Music is inherent in the very nature of man.  The tiny infant will often respond to a rhythmic sound, beginning to hum even before speaking.  Rhythm and music abound in nature all around us - the rhythmic drumming of the surf, the measured meter of rain, the winds, the melodic tunes of song birds.   Music is in us, as well.   It's an ability inherent in every child, simply awaiting development.    Unfortunately some children may never know the joys of creating  their own music, exploring their innate abilities, or discovering the joys of this self expression.  For most children, that opportunity comes but once.  To be denied that opportunity is to forfeit this natural means of self expression.

The Time May Be Now...  For your child, the opportunity to participate in music may be now.  As a caring parent, you too are presented with a unique opportunity: the chance to introduce your child to a new and wonderful world where undiscovered abilities may blossom forth, where awakening dreams become fulfilled, where a richer and fuller life begins.  Your decision to enroll your child in a music program may be one of the most important contributions you'll ever make to his or her education and perhaps to his or her life.

And, Music Is Fun!   Unlike some disciplines, music is fun to learn.  We all enjoy listening to music.  It is even more fun to create it.  There is a simple joy in experimenting with an instrument, playing real notes and discovering how those notes fit together to become a melody.  And there's a unique and special satisfaction in performing as part of  a band or orchestra that will be cherished for a lifetime, a unique pleasure in meeting new challenges and handling them - beautifully.

Did You Know...That when children study music in school, they also improve their reading, spelling, and math skills?  Educators agree that abstract concepts such as counting, fractions, and ratios become more concrete when applied in a musical context, making the relationship between mathematical theory and practice noticeably clearer. 

Music increases a student's learning capabilities in many other areas, as various studies show:   In 1987 to 1989, students taking music courses scored an average of 20 to 40 points higher on both verbal and math portions of the SAT's than students who took no arts courses.  During the same period, students who took more than four years of music and the other arts scored 34 points better on verbal SAT's than those who took music for less than a year.  Students who participate in their school band or orchestra are 52 percent more likely to go on to college and graduate.  A recent Rockefeller Foundation study discovered that music students have the highest rate of admittance to medical schools.  Studies in other countries have demonstrated that along with these benefits, there is a significant relationship between music instruction  and education performance in reading, spelling, mathematics, listening and verbal abilities, and motor skills.

Music - It's Creative And Advances Learning Ability...   Children have a natural curiosity, and curiosity is the seed of creativity.  Music offers the child an  exciting opportunity to channel that natural curiosity into creative endeavor.  It nurtures independent thinking that will carry over into other aspects of the child's curriculum and be applied to many subjects other than music.  It is more than coincidental that nationwide studies have shown that students in school music programs have achieved higher averages in all subjects and develop academically more rapidly than others.    Direct correlations between music instruction and reading, spelling and math skills underscore music study as a decisive factor in  a student's educational success.

What Is It We Want For Our Children...  Obviously many things, but most parents include some of these traits: good self-esteem and self-expression; good self-discipline; individual creativity; good academic and social skills.  When a child participates in music program, all of these traits may be developed.  When a child succeeds at the diverse tasks required in playing and instrument, self-esteem is enhanced.  When a child learns by experience that creating music links one's self to the world, self expression becomes more fluent.  Creating music helps the child interpret "who I am."  The child who is taught how to make music learns much about his or her innate creativity.  As a child begins to understand the connection between hours of practice and the quality of a performance, self-discipline becomes self-reinforcing.  It may then be a short jump to making the connection between self-discipline and performance in life.  Music programs alone may not be the answer to all the educational and social problems among youth, but many agree it would be foolish to discount music education's contributions to finding solutions in these areas.  Music is one of the few areas of study available to children that can bring such a diversity of positive factors together in the same classroom at the same time.

Music Builds Self Confidence...   Every child needs a success, a means of gaining recognition.   It's a part of the growing-up process, with each accomplishment contributing positively to the development of a stronger personality.  Music provides almost daily opportunity for individual accomplishment and, with each success, you child gains confidence.   Children who participate in school music programs begin to know themselves, to believe in their abilities and to gain strength as individuals.

Music Is A Form Of Beauty...   Music stirs the memory of our people.  It connects us to our history, our traditions, our heritage.  It is a dominant force in the world, shaping every culture's senses as well as the values of its children as few other forces can.  It is critically important that our children understand their place in today's world by making these connections.  In the folk songs of Appalachia, in the emotional reverberations of the blues, in the soaring spirituality of Leonard Bernstein's Mass, in the vigor of Aaron Copland's Rodeo, our children can awaken to a knowledge of themselves - their community and their world - in ways that cannot be duplicated.  We want our children to know and understand music precisely because it has intrinsic value on these and many other levels.

Music Has Lifetime Value...   "Music is the universal language of mankind," said Longfellow.   Where will learning this "language" lead your child?  the possibilities are endless.  First, of course, there is the school band or orchestra.   Eventually, your child might play in a marching band, participate in philharmonic concerts, or a popular music performing group.  And, too, there is the practical matter of music scholarships to college.  Millions of dollars in scholarships are currently awarded to deserving students each year.  Regardless of where music leads your child, he or she is certain to benefit from the ability to play an instrument.   your child will develop a finer appreciation for history and culture as well as for all forms of music.  Music will provide a means of individual expression, of relaxation and enjoyment, and better use of leisure time as well.  Your child will benefit from the personal growth and development that musical training brings.

Band And Orchestra - A Model For Life...    When children join band or orchestra they are learning more than just music.   They are also learning the critical thinking skills needed in today's work force.   Children in band or orchestra develop higher cognitive skills and increased ability to analyze and evaluate information.  they also learn about teamwork and conflict/resolution skills required for success in the modern workplace while enjoying the healthy, positive activity of band and orchestra with friends.

Music Enhances Social Development... In the school music program, your child becomes part of a group whose success depends upon teamwork and cooperation.  Discovering the advantages of working with others and contributing to the overall success of the group is a valuable lesson that your child will carry through the rest of his or her life.  With this group association, your child will find how to more easily make new friends who share the same common backgrounds and interests.  Most importantly, because every student contributes to the success of the school band or orchestra, children learn a greater appreciation for the part others can play in their own successes, and vice versa.  And in band or orchestra, every member of the team gets to play!

Keeping The Opportunity Alive...   Despite the obvious values of a musical education, some school districts are cutting school band and orchestra budgets - or worse, cutting out entire music programs, simply because some school officials don't understand these benefits.  Fortunately there are ways parents can help improve these conditions in your community:  Strike an alliance with your school music educators and directors.  Find out how you can support, at home, what the teachers are trying to accomplish at school.  Make sure you local school board, administrators and public officials know of your commitment to music education as a matter of educational principle.  Work with your music parents' club and area music dealers to prevent music from becoming a "bargaining chip" in school budget battles.

The Important Role Of The Parent...   Your child's success in learning to play an instrument depends a lot on you.   Your involvement is vital to your child's attitude and progress.  Encourage your child to play for you every day.  Be generous with enthusiastic praise.   Offer your support when your child becomes discouraged.  Above all, participate - meet the music teacher and music dealer and attend concerts and recitals.   Regardless of your own musical background, you will derive great satisfaction and enjoyment from following your child's progress.

Credits... Much of the above material was copied from "Your Child's Future...with Music!", a brochure printed by United Musical Instruments.  For more information about music lessons, visit our website at

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