Learning to Play Music May Improve Language Skills in Kids

It’s always great to hear of new tangible benefits to music education discovered through scientific studies:

a new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience…shows for the first time that playing an instrument, and not just listening to music, shows real improvement in the literacy and language function of your child.

Study Finds Learning to Play Music May Improve Language Skills in Kids – NY1


The Roots Are Taking Our Failing Music Education System Into Their Own Hands

“It cultivated us. It educated us,” Questlove said of his high school arts experience. “This is more than just pay it forward or celeb guilt. This is necessary. … It keeps you out of trouble. It helps develop your personality. If you take that away, you’re just a machine.”

And just like that, Questlove easily articulates the true value of music education better than almost anyone I’ve come across.

The Roots Are Taking Our Failing Music Education System Into Their Own Hands – Mic

A Musical Fix for American Schools

Northwestern University neurobiologist Nina Kraus spent two years tracking 44 6-to-9-year-olds in the program and then measured their brain activity. She found a significant increase in the music students’ ability to process sounds, which is key to language, reading and focus in the classroom. Academic results bore that out: While the music students’ reading scores held steady, scores for a control group that didn’t receive lessons declined.

A couple great tangible examples of the exact ways in which music affects the brain.

A Musical Fix for American Schools – WSJ

Music Education For Creativity

Russ Whitehurst, an education policy expert at the Brookings Institution, says he thinks the statistics about music education say something different. He points to a 2010 U.S. Department of Education report that found 94 percent of public elementary schools offer some kind of music classes, even if hours are being cut back in many places … “I think music teachers are crying wolf, largely, if you look at the national trends.”

Amazing. “Some kind of music classes” could mean literally anything. Blowing on a recorder twice a week. Learning an Orff instrument one quarter and not touching it again for an entire year. Just singing for a couple minutes when there’s an opening in homeroom. Students deserve better than “some kind” of music education.

Music Education For Creativity, Not A Tool For Test Scores : NPR

GRAMMY awards honor is just the beginning

The entirety of music education, encapsulated in four sentences:

I’d love to believe we all could make the case based on the intrinsic value we gain as individuals or the increased connections we make. It was reported that after the Columbine shootings, those who participated in the drama program were found to be those who healed and reconnected fastest. For these kids it was the only thing that brought them back from that tragedy. However, the bureaucrats speak in test scores and metrics, and we as arts educators need to wage this battle as well.

GRAMMY Awards honor is just the beginning, according to Lou Spisto | Communities Digital News

What is the most important issue in music education today?

Professors from Florida, Michigan, and others offer their answers to this question with surprising variety. Some I’m on board with:

Due to a lack of state level policy regarding music education, many children have no music teacher in their school building. Although there are rich opportunities for outside of school community music in the United States, many children cannot afford to pay for music instruction outside of the school setting. Citizens interested in making a difference in music education must advocate for a well-prepared, certified music teacher in every school building.

While others have me scratching my head:

The most important issue in music education today is one that has existed for as long as has formal music education: assessment.

What is the most important issue in music education today? | OUPblog.