Music Advocacy



Pharrell Williams is Happy and Grateful

Why Better Music Education Really Matters

Is Music the Key to Success?

Nobel Prize Winner Owes it All to His Bassoon Teacher

From the Band Room to the Board Room

Why Music Makes Our Brain Sing

Music as a Language

Top 10 Skills Children Learn from the Arts

Why Your Teen Should Join Marching Band

Is music the key to success? – A New York Times article about the impact of studying music

Sport and Music – Are they similar?

11 Facts About Music Education

Why We Need Music in our Schools? – An article by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and others


Music Education and Brain Development

Music Education and Math/Spatial Reasoning

Music Education and Reading/Verbal Skills

Music Education and Academic Achievement

Music Education and Successful Schools

Music Education and Social and Emotional Development

  • Chorus America found that choral singers are far more likely to be involved in charity work, as volunteers and as donors (76 %), than the average person (44% according to a 2001 report by Independent Sector). Choral singers are also more than twice as likely as non-participants to be aware of current events and involved in the political process. They are also twice as likely as the general public to be major consumers of other arts – and not just music.
    America’s Performing Art: A Study of Choruses, Choral Singers, and their Impact (Chorus Impact Study, 2003).

Fun Facts

Music majors are the most likely group of college grads to be admitted to medical school.
Lewis Thomas, Case for Music in the Schools, Phi Delta Kappa, 1994

Middle school and high school students who participated in instrumental music performances scored significantly higher than their non-band peers in standardized tests.
University of Sarasota Study, Jeffrey Lynn Kluball; East Texas State University Study, Daryl Erick Trent

Students who participate in school band or orchestra have the lowest levels of current and lifelong use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs among any group in our society.
H. Con. Res. 266, United States Senate, June 13, 2000

High school music students have been shown to hold higher grade point averages (GPA) than non-musicians in the same school.
National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988

78% of Americans feel learning a musical instrument helps students perform better in other subjects.
Gallup Poll, “American Attitudes Toward Music,” 2003

Nine out of ten adults and teenagers who play instruments agree that music making brings the family closer together.
Music Making and Our Schools, American Music Conference, 2000

With music in schools, students connect to each other better—greater camaraderie, fewer fights, less racism and reduced use of hurtful sarcasm.
Eric Jensen, Arts With the Brain in Mind, 2001

71% of Americans surveyed by the Gallup Poll believe that teenagers who play an instrument are less likely to have disciplinary problems.
Gallup Poll, “American Attitudes Toward Music,” 2003

Music for Music’s Sake

In the article Why study music?, music education professor Donald Hodges explains 10 understandings/experiences unique to music.  He writes:

  1. Feelings – central to any discussion of music as a knowledge system must be the idea of feelings. From one end of the continuum dealing with vague, unspecified moods to the  other end dealing with crystallized emotions such as grief or joy, music is intrinsically connected with feelings.
  2. Aesthetic experiences – all human beings have a need forbeauty and to activate their innate responsiveness to the organized expressive sounds that we call music.
  3. The ineffable – precisely because music is a nonverbal form of expression, it is a powerful means to express or to know that which is difficult or impossible to put into words.  Two of the most common human experiences that are frequently known through music are love and spiritual awareness.
  4. Thoughts – musical thought is just as viable as linguistic, mathematical, or visual thought. It can be a potent means of expressing ideas and of knowing truth.
  5. Structure – closely allied to the idea of thinking is structure. The human mind seeks patterns, structure, order, and logic. Music provides a unique way of structuring sounds across time, as well as providing a means of structuring thoughts, feelings, and human experiences.
  6. Time and space – time and space are the ‘stuff’ of the universe. All human knowledge systems provide ways of dealing with time and space. As indicated in ‘Structure’ above, music is a means of organizing sounds across time. Although music occurs in ‘real’ time, it deals more with ‘felt’ time. Music, especially in connection with dance (bodily-kinesthetic knowledge system), is a primary means of experiencing space in time.
  7. Self knowledge – music’s role in intrinsic, and especially peak (transcendent, life-changing), learning experiences provides for powerful insights into our private, inner worlds.
  8. Self identity- many gain their sense of self through a variety of musical activities and experiences.
  9. Group identity- group identity through music is both inclusive and exclusive in that (a) music helps cement the bonding of those members of a group who share common ideas, beliefs, and behaviors, and (b) music helps isolate and separate one group from another.
  10. Healing and wholeness- from more specific applications of music in therapy and medicine to more general interactions, music has profound effects on human beings. Music provides a vehicle for the integration of body, mind, and spirit.

The National Art Education Association lists these 10 Lessons the Arts Teach:

  1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships.
  2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.
  3. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives.
  4. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity.
  5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know.
  6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects.
  7. The arts teach students to think through and within a material.
  8. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said.
  9. The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.
  10. The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.

SOURCE: Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, In Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press. Available from NAEA Publications.

In the book Why Our Schools Need the Arts (2007)Jessica Hoffmann Davis lists 5 unique features of the arts.  More information is available in Hickman’s book review.

  1. Tangible product: Imagination and Agency
  2. Focus on emotion: Expression and Empathy
  3. Ambiguity: Interpretation and Respect
  4. Process orientation: Inquiry and Reflection
  5. Connection: Engagement and Responsibility


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