Editorial: Music Education is Essential for Student Success

Valerie Nothnagle, reporter

According to research by the Nation Association of Music Merchants, schools that offer music programs yield an average 90.2% graduation rate and 93.9% attendance rate; compared with the 72.9% graduation and 84.9% attendance rate of schools that lack musical involvement. It is safe to say that music has an overall positive impact on students. 

Music education is vital to students’ success, as it aids them to excel in both their academic and social life.             

Learning and participating in musical activities enhance people’s mental capabilities in a multitude of ways. The areas of the brain responsible for music and language have been discovered to be more closely related than scientists thought. Music requires students to recognize and recreate pitch, rhythm, and in singing, the enunciation and pronunciation of words. A study from the National Library of Medicine shows that these skills can be applied to their ability to speak and understand language better, especially in younger kids. 

Involvement in music also improves memory; an active part of studying music is the memorization of rhythm patterns, symbols, note names and sounds, and potentially lyrics. When tested on auditory, visual, and executive memory tests, musicians out performed the non musicians in an ERP study. Music education “homework” usually consists of students practicing their art consistently outside of school, which builds good study habits and time management skills, therefore improving their work ethic for other schoolwork. 

Arguably one of the best benefits of keeping students’ involved in music is the positive impact it has on various mental processes and problem solving. William Klemm, a neuroscience professor at Texas A&M, states that musicians have higher levels of gray matter volume in their brain, which is directly related to auditory processing and comprehension. Having quality music in schools vastly improves students’ academic and intellectual abilities, so it is clearly necessary.

The social impact of involving oneself in music is just as notable. In an ensemble setting, students are encouraged to collaborate with their peers to work on the current musical piece or task. Research from the University of Southern California proves essential teamwork can shape children into more sociable, productive students. Ensembles drive students to better themselves and others in order to meet a common goal—performance. 

Being in a musical group enables the participants to meet new people, have bonding moments during rehearsals, and build lifelong relationships. This is especially evident in music festivals that students can audition for and be exposed to other people with the same passion as them. Music brings people together regardless of their background, for music transcends language. In school, many students find a sense of belonging in their ensembles, and it even provides the feeling of having a second home for those that are dedicated. As music is part of the arts, it allows for self-expression and individuality, which can greatly impact students’ self esteem. 

Everyday, schools around the country are defunding or entirely eliminating their music program. Donate to the Save the Music Foundation in order to support music education and the growth of students.