By Cullen Knowles
Even though music is a fundamental aspect of our society, music education is often considered to be an unnecessary part of our curriculum. Science, social studies, and mathematics receive far more attention than music education, and our school board has attempted to severely cut back on our music programs in the past. This clearly indicates that many educators fail to realize the exceptional benefits that music education provides for students.
Core courses such as science and mathematics are extremely crucial aspects of education, but music can enhance a student’s social skills and academic talents in ways that other subjects cannot. In addition to this, music can be extremely beneficial to a person’s health. Overall, extensive scientific research has yielded results that prove music education stimulates spatial intelligence, social skills, and mental health.
Cognitive development is critical when it comes to academic success, and music education can enhance the skills that a student needs in mathematics, science, and the language arts. Music affects more parts of the brain than any other function (Mannes), which indicates that students with some form of music education will have a significant academic advantage. Perhaps the most profound enhancement occurs in the areas of the brain that regulate language skills. For example, “Early musical training helps develop brain areas involved in language and reasoning” (Twelve Benefits). In addition to this, the effects of musical training will be beneficial to a student for the rest their life. In fact, undergraduates who received music education as children still exhibit higher IQs and levels of academic success (Hille). Music is therefore an essential part of education at any level, and enhanced cognitive development is only one of the many benefits of music education.
Social skills and adequate behavior are also essential to success in school and in the real world. Fortunately for students, music education provides exceptional opportunities for social interaction with other students and adults. For example, playing in a symphonic orchestra or in another large ensemble at a young age will encourage teamwork and stimulate communication skills (Twelve Benefits). These skills are paramount in any situation. In addition to this, performing a piece on a musical instrument helps a student gain confidence and overcome their worst fears (Twelve Benefits). Overall, music education can develop a student’s social skills along with their cognitive abilities, which can give the student the necessary tools for a successful and fruitful life.
Music can definitely do amazing things to the brain in areas that preside over intelligence and behavior, but the most profound aspect of music is its ability to heal the mind of an individual. For example, music can help restore a person’s neurological and physical functions after a stroke, and a particular method of treatment known as melodic intonation therapy is often used to treat many different neurological deficits. In fact, this therapy can help some patients regain motor control and their ability to speak (Mannes). Music education could aid the instruction of physicians who would use this type of therapy, which indicates that music education might eventually become an invaluable tool for medicine.
Music is without a doubt one of the most significant aspects of education. It can enhance a student’s abilities in many academic areas and provide unique social encounters, and the rewards and benefits of music education are validated by a profound amount of scientific research. However, many school administrators and education officials refuse to recognize these facts, and our school district’s music programs have been placed on the chopping block numerous times. Without music, our students would definitely lose opportunities and benefits that no other aspect of education could provide.
- Dooley, Kevin. “Piano Strings.” Flickr. Yahoo!, 23 Dec. 2011. Web. 25 Sept. 2013.
- Hille, Katrin, Kilian Gust, Urlich Bitz, and Thomas Kammer. “Abstract.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. US National Library of Medicine, 04 Mar. 2011. Web. 22 Sept. 2013.
- Mannes, Elena. “’The Power of Music’ to Affect the Brain.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2013.
- “Twelve Benefits of Music Education.” Twelve Benefits of Music Education. Children’s Music Workshop, n.d. Web. 22. Sept. 2013.