Engagement, persistence, and creativity are components of higher-level thinking and complex problem solving (Costa & Kallick, 2000). Music education nurtures these habits of mind that are essential for success in today’s global, knowledge-based economy in the following ways:
1 Sharpens student attentiveness. The ability to pay attention—visual focus, active listening and staying on task—is essential to school performance. It begins to develop early in life and is continuously refined. Early childhood training in instrumental music improves these attention abilities, while continued music education throughout adolescence reinforces and strengthens them (Neville et al., 2008). Attentiveness is an essential building block of engagement, a competency necessary for success in school and the workforce.
2 Strengthens perseverance. Perseverance is the ability to continue towards a goal when presented with obstacles. It is developed and strengthened through music education. Students involved in music lessons surpass their peers on tasks measuring perseverance. At the foundation of perseverance are motivation, commitment and persistence, all traits of creative individuals (Scott, 1992).
3 Equips students to be creative. Employers identify creativity as one of the top five skills important for success in the workforce (Lichtenberg, Woock, & Wright, 2008). Music education helps develop originality and flexibility, which are key components of creativity and innovation. Graduates from music programs report that creativity, teamwork, communication, and critical thinking are skills and competencies necessary in their work, regardless of whether they are working in music or in other fields (Craft, 2001; SNAAP, 2011).
4 Supports better study habits and self-esteem. A study of music majors found that they felt more prepared for success in college than non-music majors. This readiness may be due to the music majors’ discipline and focus developed via intense practice and performance routines prior to college. These habits are typical of music students and may generalize to other academic areas and social/ emotional aspects of life, contributing to higher self esteemand success (Chesky et al., 1997).
Music education readies students for learning by helping to develop their basic mental skills and capacities. Music instruction impacts learning in the following ways:
1. Enhances fine motor skills. Motor function is the ability to use small, acute muscle movements to write, use a computer, and perform other physical activities essential for classroom learning. The parts of the brain associated with sensory and motor function are developed through music instruction, and musically trained children have better motor function than non-musically trained children (Forgeard, 2008; Hyde, 2009; Schlaug et al., 2005)
2. Prepares the brain for achievement. Complex math processes are more accessible to students who have studied music because the same parts of the brain used in processing math are strengthened through practice in music. For example, students who take music in middle school score significantly higher on algebra assessments in ninth grade than their non-music counterparts, as their brains are already accustomed to performing the processes used in complex math (Helmrich, 2010).
3. Foster superior working memory. Working memory is the ability to mentally hold, control, and manipulate information in order to complete higher order tasks, such as reasoning and problem solving. Musicians are found to have superior working memory compared to non-musicians. Musicians are better able to sustain mental control during memory and recall tasks, most likely as a result of their longeterm musical training (Berti et al., 2006; Pallesen et al., 2010).
4. Cultivates better thinking skills. Thinking skills such as abstract reasoning are integral to students' ability to apply knowledge and visual solutions. Studies have shown that young children who take keyboard lessons have greater abstract reasoning abilities than their peer, and those abilities improve over time with sustained training in music (Rauscher, 2000).
When words fail,
Visit the JH Music page to view the STOMP projects that the JH classroom music class just completed. During this unit, students created a routine based off of the very popular group STOMP. They focused on rhythm and working together as a group to complete their routine.
Life is more than a song; it's a concert!
Play all the sharps and flats of your life with the
strength, beauty, and confidence of the masters,
and it will be a masterpiece.
Music education prepares students to learn
1. Enhances fine motor skills
2. Prepares the brain for achievement
3. Fosters superior working memory
4. Cultivates better thinking skills
Music education facilitates student academic achievement
1. Improves recall and retention of verbal information
2. Advances math achievement
3. Boosts reading and English language skills
4. Improves average SAT scores
Music education develops the creative capacities for lifelong success
1. Sharpens student attentiveness
2. Strengthens perseverance
3. Equips students to be creative
4. Supports better study habits and self-esteem