Austin PhamAndreWind Ensemble26 January 2018The Benefits of Musical Education in Public Schools Musical education in public schools throughout the country is a very powerful, valuable, and essential component in within the public school system, as well as furthering the development of a child’s mind, coordination, and social skills. Foundations such as the Save the Music Foundation and the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation both work to save and inform people the positivity teaching music in schools. Research proves students that study music in high school have heightened development in thinking, reasoning, and motor skills. Music and that arts teaches kids in ways that normal classes are unable to. According to Richard Gurin, the Chief Executive Officer, Binney and Smith, the maker of Crayola crayons, “We believe the skills the arts teach – critical thinking, problem-solving, risk-taking, teamwork, and communications – are precisely the tools the workforce of tomorrow will need. If we don’t encourage students to master these skills through quality arts instruction today, how can we ever expect them to succeed in their highly competitive business careers tomorrow” (Droscher). According to Kent State University and Arete Academy, children who are involved in music show greater development and memory improvement within a year of studying the arts. These children also score better on standardized exams in math and English, and tend to have larger vocabularies with more advanced reading skills. Schools with music programs have an average graduation rate of 90.2% and an attendance rate of 93.9% in comparison to schools without the same type of education. Schools without have an average graduation rate of 72.9% and an attendance rate of 84.9 percent (Kent State University). According to the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988, high school music students have shown to have a higher grade point average than those not in a music or arts class. Kent State University determined that through education in music, students also score higher on the SAT, with better development both mathematically and verbally (Kent State University). Music, however; does not only improve how well a student can function in school, it also affects the critical thinking skills, reasoning, social skills, motor skills, and discipline of them. Another study which began in 2012 and ran for two years tested 6-7 year-olds in order to determine if musical education truly benefits the early development stages of children. This study was conducted by researchers at the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California, and included a group of 37 children from an underprivileged neighborhood of Los Angeles. Thirteen of the children was given seven hours of music instruction a week, and eleven children were apart of a soccer program, and the other thirteen kids were not involved in any training at all. To compare the groups, the electrical activity within their brains were tracked through testing and monitored through brain scans. The study proved the children involved in the music program had developed more quickly than those that were not. Lead researcher Dr. Assal Habibi stated that the auditory system is stimulated by music and general sound processing. These two components are essential to reading skills, language development, and successful communication (Nee). Dr. Eric Rasmussen, the Chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches a specialized music curriculum to children two months to nine years old, says “There’s some good neuroscience research saying that children involved in music have larger growth of neural activity than people who are not in music training. When you’re a musician and you’re playing an instrument, you have to use more of your brain” (Brown). Using more of your brain inhibits more of a need to utilize critical thinking skills. Though, another factor that can be attributed to the development of this skill is how music is constantly changing. To play a piece well every aspect of the page must be recognized, as said by John Radey, an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, “The musician is constantly adjusting decisions on tempo, tone, style, rhythm, phrasing, and feeling–training the brain to become incredibly good at organizing and conducting numerous activities at once. Dedicated practice of this orchestration can have a great payoff for lifelong attention skills, intelligence, and an ability for self-knowledge and expression” (Droscher). Constant change forces the player to have to constantly pay attention to the music in order to play it well. Music education also suggests that overtime, coordination and motor skills will function higher as well. This form of education also benefits children through social development as well. A study performed by Professor Susan Hallam, a professor of music education and music psychology at the UCL Institute of Education, and Dr. Dimitra Kokotsaki, an associate professor at Durham University dealing with how music education can benefit a child’s social skills. They wrote, “Participating in ensembles was also perceived as an opportunity to socialize with like-minded people, make new friends and meet interesting people, who without the musical engagement they would not have had the opportunity to meet” (Kalivretenos). Most other forms of education are unable to directly impact all of the parts of the mind that music can. While music can change a mind through thinking and reasoning, or even socially or through language, it also affects coordination. Professor Donald A. Hodges, director of the Music Research Institute at the University of North Carolina states: Music is always a physical activity. Musicians are small-muscle athletes. When Yo-Yo Ma is playing his cello in concert he’s not thinking. All the thought took place earlier, and if he were to think now it would impede his playing. He is simply performing, much like a highly trained athlete. The benefits of musical performance don’t go just to the performers. A listener sitting still in a classical concert hall is having the area of the brain that controls motion stimulated (WWBW).Coordination comes from the physical workout of smaller muscles. Like an athlete, working out muscles develops them and makes them stronger. This translates to the way an instrument is played, and the ability to follow the music on a page. It is clear that music education, whether it be in public schools or outside instruction, benefits children in more ways than none. Music stimulates the mind and accelerates the development of critical skills, social skills, motor skills, reasoning, and discipline. While music can affect all of these aspects, it can also assist in developing the emotional level and state of a young mind. A study was conducted by the University of Vermont College of Medicine in 2015 that consisted of analyzing the brain scans of 232 healthy children ages six to eighteen. James Hudziak, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont and director of the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families, stated, “What we found was the more a child trained on a instrument… it accelerated cortical organization in attention skill, anxiety management and emotion control” (Nutt). Hudziak also stated:What I was surprised by was the emotional regulatory regions. Everyone in our culture if I lift 5-pound, 10-pound, 15-pound weights, my biceps will get bigger. The same is true for the brain. We shouldn’t be surprised we can train the brain. A kid may still have ADHD. It’s the storm around it that improves. (Nutt)The professor was so inspired by his findings that musical education greatly impacts and benefits the brain of children, Works CitedDroscher, Edward. “NEMC Sign Up.” Rent or Shop Branded Musical Instruments, www.nemc.com/resources/articles/music-education-benefits_50.”How Music Study Relates to Nearly Every School Discipline.” Woodwind Brasswind, www.wwbw.com/the-music-room/how-music-study-relates-to-nearly-every-school-discipline.Kalivretenos, Alexis. “The Importance of Music Education.” TheHumanist.com, 18 Mar. 2015, thehumanist.com/features/articles/the-importance-of-music-education.”Kent State University’s Online Masters Degree in Music Education | Infographic.” Master of Music in Music Education Online Kent State University Infographic Evolving Technology in Musical Education Comments, web.archive.org/web/20140221040815/http://musicedmasters.kent.edu:80/evolving-technology-in-musical-education/.Nee, Anita. “A Child’s Brain Develops Faster with Exposure to Music Education.” Music Education Works, 7 Aug. 2017, musiceducationworks.wordpress.com/2016/06/19/a-childs-brain-develops-faster-with-exposure-to-music/.