S. L. Lam
November 24, 2011
Music Programs are Beneficial to our Nation’s Society as a Whole
Music is everywhere. You can hear it in your home, in your car, or on your personal mp3 player. Even unintentionally, you hear it playing in an elevator, in the waiting room of your doctor’s office, or even as you pick produce at your local supermarket. It is almost as much a part of life as breathing. The truth is that there are many benefits to music; more than most people know. Studies have shown that music impacts our health in many positive ways. For example, it has been documented that music reduces pain and stress, it slows down your heart rate, stimulates brain cells, boosts exercise performance, promotes sound sleep, increases optimism, reduces anxiety in cancer patients, eases people in social situations and is used in many spiritual aspects from worship to meditation. (Chaudhari)
If these are the benefits to simply listening to music, are there greater benefits for those who are trained to create it? Time and time again we have heard that people who are involved in music are smarter, calmer and more likely to succeed in every aspect of life, yet somehow when school budgets are in jeopardy, music is one of the first programs terminated. Let us begin by taking a close look at the implied reasoning behind these theories and compare them with many of the studies that prove their inaccuracies.
Some believe that since many students have no interest in music, it should not be a required class considering parents can simply have them take private lessons. Others believe that music may seem too difficult to understand, ultimately hurting their Grade Point Average. (Reynolds)
How to Listen to Music, Not Just Hear it To learn to listen to music, not just hear it You need the right room, the right equipment, the perfect volume, the perfect spot, and (of course), the embracing of the music. After you have all the proper tools, you can sit and enjoy the music. The first consideration is to listen to music in a comfortable chair. I would highly recommend a good quality Lazy ...
First of all, a gallup poll showed that 30% of those who play an instrument, first learned through school and another 9% was through the school band or orchestra. 82% of people who play instruments began their training between the ages of 5 and 14, and 42% of these same people are still playing after age 35. 20% are still playing after age 50. (Lyons) Imagine if they would not have been trained at such a young age.
Private lessons are quite expensive. The average piano lesson can run anywhere from $50 to $100 per hour. (Janice) The average student attends at least one lesson per week in order to maintain a consistent flow of learning. This means it would cost anywhere from $200 to $400 per month. In this economy, it would be difficult for the average family to afford this cost.
Regarding the last part of Reynold’s theory, if we take the time to look at the effects of the relationship between music and intelligence in different stages of life, again, we will find substantial evidence to prove that it is thoroughly inaccurate.
For example, the National Association for Music Education documented a study of 144 six-year-olds who were divided into four (4) equal groups. One (1) group was involved in piano classes, one (1) in voice lessons, one (1) in drama and one (1) in neither. One year later, the groups involved in music had the highest IQ’s. The increases were 6.1 for piano students, 7.6 for voice students, 5.1 for those in drama yet only 3.9 for those who were not involved in neither. (Schellenberg)
For high school students, there is an annual competition funded by the Siemens Foundation. Students compete in math, science and technology, making this one of the highest honors a student can receive. The winners are awarded college scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 in individual and team categories. Astoundingly enough, an article in The Midland Chemist stated that almost 100% of their past winners play at least one (1) musical instrument. (Hill, 3) This shows that music plays a large part in the lives of our nation’s smartest students.
A Study of Evidence that Music Education is a Positive Factor in K-8 Student Academic Achievement, Fall 1987, California State University. Copied with permission from Wyoming MEA Journal (1991). Wyoming MEA web-site is web Research-whoa, don t turn the page-is important in music education. It is not the dusty, dry study of facts and statistics. Research decides what we teach, when we teach it, and ...
Lewis Thomas is a physician and biologist who studied the undergraduate majors of medical school applicants. Through this study he found that 66% of college students who majored in music were accepted as opposed to 44% of biochemistry majors. This is the highest percentage of any group. (Miller)
Even Vernon Stenger, an internationally renowned Analytical Chemist admits to buying a second-hand oboe and learning to play it based on his prior high-school clarinet training. His talent increased to the point where he played in multiple orchestras and ultimately founded his own. When he worked for the Dow Chemical Company he improved their analytical division all the while contributing to the development of orchestras. Acknowledging the importance of music in his life, when the Midland orchestra ended due to finances, he formed a committee to make sure it would continue as a community based orchestra. In 1959 he was named “Musician of the Year” and in 1970 he was awarded the “Anachem Award” which is an honor held only by those who have made outstanding advances in the Analytical Chemistry field. (Hill, 5)
People who study music do not only benefit academically, but become well-rounded citizens. Even the United States Senate documented in a concurrent resolution that, “Music education enhances intellectual development and enriches the academic environment for children of all ages; and music educators greatly contribute to the artistic, intellectual and social development of American children, and play a key role in helping children to succeed in school.” (U.S. Congress)
The University of North Texas conducted a study with 362 students of which 246 were music majors and 116 were not. They were all required to take a ‘Young Adult Alcohol Problem Screening Test’. Students that were music majors had less alcohol problems throughout their lifespan. They were also asked to read through a list of 50 social and emotional topics and identify which were problems they struggled with. Conclusively, on 29 of the topics the differences were substantial. On each of these, the music students reported fewer problems, were socially and emotionally healthier and had fewer problems concentrating or studying. (Reese)
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The International Foundation for Music Research funded a study where Martin Gardiner from Brown University gathered information on over 1,000 Rhode Island residents tracking their criminal records from birth to approximately age 30. The results showed that the greater the involvement in music, the smaller the arrest record. Those who played an actual instrument had even fewer encounters with the law. (Weinberger)
In conclusion, I ask…if music programs help mold a large percentage of highly intelligent, emotionally healthy, non-violent people who have virtually no criminal records and are not dependent on illicit substances, why would we do away with the model citizens this country would be proud to have?
Chaudhari, Manasi. “10 Benefits of Listening to Music.” LifeMojo.com. LifeMojo Health Solutions Pvt Ltd., 3 May 2010. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. .
Hill, Peggy. “Music + Chemistry = Compatible Mixture.” The Midland Chemist 42 (Feb. 2005): 3, 5. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. .
Janice. “What Is the Average Cost of Piano Lessons?” Parent’s Music Guide. 14 Apr. 2008. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. .
Lyons, Linda. “Americans Want Music Students to Play On.” Www.gallup.com. Gallup, Inc., 20 May 2003. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. .
Miller, Allan, and Dorita Cohen. “The Case for Music in the Schools.” Phi Delta Kappan (1994).
Www.highbeam.com. Phi Delta Kappa International, 1 Feb. 1994. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. .
Reese, Kelley. “Study Shows Music Students Abuse Alcohol Less, Study Better.” University of North Texas. University of North Texas News Service, 26 Jan. 1998. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. .
Is Ethnomusicology Relevant to the Study of British Folk Music Some thoughts and key references Ethnomusicology has an image problem. Insofar as anyone has heard of ethnomusicologists at all, there is a fairly common feeling (and not unjustified, bearing in mind what ethnomusicologists collectively seem to do) that ethnomusicology is, exclusively, the study of non-Western musics. Actually, this ...
Reynolds, Aaron. “Reasons to Cut Music Education.” Web log post. Www.ehow.com. Demand Media, Inc. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. .
Schellenberg, E. Glenn. Music Lessons Enhance IQ. Rep. 8th ed. Vol. 15. Mississagua: Psychological Science, 2003. Music Lessons Enhance IQ. American Psycological Society, 9 July 2004. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. .
United States. Cong. Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. H. CON. RES. 266. By Jeff Trandahl. 106th Cong., 2nd sess. Cong Res. 266. United States Government Printing Office, 14 June 2000. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. .
Weinberger, Norman M. “To The Point.” Www.musica.uci.edu. Regents of the University of California, Winter 2000. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. .