March has been officially designated by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) for the observance of Music In Our Schools Month. It’s our time to celebrate music education around the country. What began in 1973 as a single day in the state of New York has expanded to become a nationwide month long celebration of the benefits of music education for all students. Along with many events celebrating the month, NAfME received a request from recording artist RaeLynn to write a song celebrating Music in Our Schools Month.
RaeLynn recently debuted “Always Sing,” a song she wrote with Nicolle Galyon and Jimmy Robbins for the 30th Anniversary of Music In Our Schools Month at the 2014 National In-Service Conference. It’s an exciting tune that embodies the spirit of music education. Take a listen.
At Willis Music we are incredibly proud of our relationships with local schools, band directors, orchestra directors, choir directors and their students. We have 5 full time school music representatives on the road every day visiting schools and working with bands to give students the musical opportunities they deserve. I realize I am preaching to the choir for many of you but singing about the benefits of music never becomes tiring. Last month I wrote to you about my trip to the NAMM show and all the activities surrounding it. I am particularly proud of the vision statement of NAMM which spells out the importance of music education and our responsibility therein.
We envision a world in which the joy of making music is a precious element of daily living for everyone; a world in which every child has a deep desire to learn music and a recognized right to be taught; and in which every adult is a passionate champion and defender of that right.
In the spirit of this vision we attempt every day to make a difference in the lives of students. Each year I travel to Washington to lobby our representatives about the benefits and absolute necessity of music in the schools. The trips are always rewarding and many questions arise about the benefits of music education. The next time someone asks you about music and why it’s important here are just a few of the facts I share in Washington:
- A College Bound Senior Nation Report “Profile of the SAT Program Test Taker” found that students in music scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math than students with no arts participation.
- According to Dr. Nina Kraus’s work with the Harmony Project, students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well.
- A few years of musical training early in life improves how the brain processes sound, and the benefits of early exposure to music education last well into adulthood, years after the training has ceased.
- A study published in 2010 found that regular music making strengthens nonmusical brain functions.
- A 2014 Harris Poll found that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creating problem solving, and flexibility in work situations.
- Learning an instrument teaches children about delayed gratification.
- Taking music lessons offers a space where kids learn how to accept and give constructive criticism, according to research published in The Wall Street Journal in 2014.
- According to a German Institute for economic Research study, teens who take music lessons outside of school score significantly higher in terms of cognitive skills, have better grades, and are more conscientious and ambitious than their peers.
- 71% of Americans say that the learnings and habits from music education equip people to be better team players in their careers.
- 67% of Americans say music education provides people with a disciplined approach to solving problems.
- 66% of Americans say that music education prepares someone to manage the tasks of their job more successfully.
- 80% believe their music education has contributed to their level of personal fulfillment.
“Some people think music education is a priviledge, but I think it’s essential to being human.”