Music & Art Educational Programming Is Crucial
Art education and music programs solve problems.
Years of research show that art and music are closely linked to almost everything that we as a nation say we want for our children. We want for our children and demand from our schools academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity.
The basic message is that art and music programs in the schools help our kids and communities in real and substantial ways. You can use the following facts about the benefits of art programs and music education, based on a growing body of convincing research, to move decision-makers to make the right choices.
When presented with the many and manifest benefits of music education, officials at all levels should universally support a full, balanced, sequential course of music instruction taught by qualified teachers.
The importance of and the value of music in shaping individual abilities is insurmountable. The character of music to our economy is without doubt. Every human culture uses music to carry forward its ideas and ideals.
Music is a part of the fabric of our society. The intrinsic value of music for each individual is widely recognized in the many cultures that make up American life. The value of music in shaping individual abilities and character are attested in a number of places.
Every student should have the benefit of an education in the arts. Involvement in the arts is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skill. Arts learning can also improve motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork.
A 2005 report by the Rand Corporation about the visual arts argues that the intrinsic pleasures and stimulation of the art experience connect people more deeply to the world. Art Education programs have been credited with opening people up to new ways of seeing and creating the foundation to forge social bonds and community cohesion. Strong arts programming in schools helps close a gap that has left many a child behind
From Mozart for babies to tutus for toddlers to family trips to the museum, the children of affluent, aspiring parents generally get exposed to the arts whether or not public schools provide them. Low-income children do not.
“Arts education enables those children from a financially challenged background to have a more level playing field with children who have had those enrichment experiences,” says Eric Cooper, president and founder of the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education.
Innovative arts and music initiatives are taking root in a growing number of school districts. Many of these models are based on new findings in brain research and cognitive development, and they embrace a variety of approaches: using the arts as a learning tool (for example, musical notes to teach fractions); incorporating arts into other core classes (writing and performing a play about, say, slavery); creating a school environment rich in arts and culture (Mozart in the hallways every day) and hands-on arts instruction.
Although most of these initiatives are in the early stages, some are beginning to rack up impressive results. This trend may send a message to schools focused maniacally and perhaps counterproductively, on reading and math.[quote]“If they’re worried about their test scores and want a way to get them higher, they need to give kids more arts, not less,” says Tom Horne, Arizona’s state superintendent of public instruction. “There’s lots of evidence that kids immersed in the arts do better on their academic tests.”[/quote]
Art and music are key to student development.
It has become a mantra in education that No Child Left Behind, with its pressure to raise test scores, has reduced classroom time devoted to the arts and science, social studies, and everything else besides reading and math. Evidence supports this contention. Arts education and music programs have been slipping for more than three decades, the result of tight budgets, an ever-growing list of state mandates that have crammed the classroom curriculum, and a public sense that the arts are lovely but not essential.
By: Carol Ransom