Music is the language that reaches everyone. It goes beyond ethnic, geographic, and socio-economic barriers.
Many studies show how learning to play an instrument and being involved in group music helps children improve their skills academically and socially.
New Evidence of Mental Benefits From Music Training: Harvard-based researchers find a link between early musical training and cognitive capacities that allow for planned, controlled behavior.
The key result: “Children and adults with extensive musical training show enhanced performance on a number of executive-function constructs compared to non-musicians,” the researchers write, “especially for cognitive flexibility, working memory, and processing speed.”
The musically trained children showed “heightened activation in traditional executive-function regions” of the brain during a task-switching exercise, they report, along with “enhanced performance on measures of verbal fluency.”
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- Students involved in band or orchestra reported the lowest lifetime and current use of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs
- when compared against students in other school activities.
- Students involved with music score an average of 100 points higher on SAT tests than students who are not. The longer a student has been involved with music instruction, the greater the difference.
- Students who study music have higher grades, score better on standardized tests and have better attendance records.
In 1996, The National Affiliation of Arts Educators (of Australia) and the Australian Council for Educational Research stated, “The arts contribute naturally and significantly to all of the key competencies.” They defined Key Competencies as “skills that are learned not just in one class, but through the overall educational experience. They are also skills that the business community believes school graduates must possess.”
Applications of music education to the Australian Key Competencies:
COLLECTING, ANALYZING, AND ORGANIZING INFORMATION
Interpreting and creating artworks (compositions), exercising aesthetic judgment, managing sensory and emotional information
COMMUNICATING IDEAS AND INFORMATION
Making artworks (composing), communicating ideas and information non-propositionally (without speaking or writing), interpreting artworks through talking and writing
PLANNING AND ORGANIZING ACTIVITIES
Rehearsing and presenting a performance or concert
WORKING WITH OTHERS AND IN TEAMS
Experiencing ensemble discipline for corps, orchestra, etc. Practicing group skills in rehearsal, production, and exhibition, negotiating in multi-arts contexts
Learning about basic musical structure, rhythm, balance, and acoustic science
Improvising, researching, creating artwork (composing), interpreting, preparing presentations
Using samplers and synthesizers, using multi-media in presentations, concerts, and performances, using sound and lighting principles and technology