Music’s roots may lie in melodic exchanges between mothers and babies. Within a day or two after birth, babies recognize the first beat in a sound sequence; neural signs of surprise appear when that initial “downbeat” goes missing. Classical music lights up specific hearing areas in newborns’ right brains. Even more intriguingly, babies enter the world crying in melodic patterns that the little ones have heard in their mothers’ conversations for at least two months while in the womb (SN: 12/5/09, p. 14).
New research probing these early musical stories indicates that moms and tots vocally express and share emotions in finely calibrated ways that differ in some respects across cultures. Other findings suggest that mothers everywhere prod babies to sing and act out simple songs as a prelude to learning cultural practices. http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/61561/title/Birth__of_the_beat
How Children Benefit from Music Education In Schools
Dr. Jean Houston of the Foundation for Mind Research says that children without access to an arts program are actually damaging their brain. They are not being exposed to non-verbal modalities which help them learn skills like reading, writing and math much more easily (Roehmann, 1988).
A Columbia University study revealed that students in the arts are found to be more cooperative with teachers and peers, more self-confident and better able to express their ideas. (Source: Burton, J., Horowitz, R., Abeles, H. Champions of Change, Arts Education Partnership, 1999.)
Students indicate that arts participation motivates them to stay in school, and that the arts create a supportive environment that promotes constructive acceptance of criticism and one in which it is safe to take risks. (Source: Barry, N., Taylor, K. and K. Walls Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development, AEP, 2002.)
A study examined the influence of music education on nonmusical abilities, the effects of music lessons on academic performance, and cognitive abilities. The study revealed that students who participated in music lessons showed statistically higher intelligence quotients. (Source: Glenn Schellenberg, Music Lessons Enhance IQ, Psychological Science, Vol. 15, No. 8, 2004.)
A study of rural and urban inner-city schools found that arts programs helped schools in economically disadvantaged communities develop students’ critical-thinking and problem solving skills. (Source: Stevenson, L., Deasy, R., Third Space: When Learning Matters, AEP, 2005.)
With music in schools, students connect to each other better— greater camaraderie, fewer fights, less racism and reduced use of hurtful sarcasm. (Source: Jensen, E., Arts With the Brain In Mind, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2001.)
The vast majority —96 percent—of the school principals interviewed in a recent study agree that participation in music education encourages and motivates students to stay in school. Further, 89 percent of principals feel that a high-quality music education program contributes to their school achieving higher graduation rates. (Source: Harris Interactive Poll, 2006.)
Tedd Judd in a speech at the 1984 conference on the Biology of Music-Making entitled, "A Neurologist Looks at Musical Behavior", comes to the conclusion that involvement in music involves many parts of the interconnected brain (Roehmann, 1988).
Music helps self esteem
The Norwegian Research Council for Science and the Humanities has found a connection between students having musical competence and high motivation in that they were more likely to achieve success in school. They concluded that there is a high correlation between positive self-perception, high cognitive competence scores, self-esteem and interest and involvement in school music.
Whitwell came to much the same conclusion and contends that creative participation in music improves self-image, self-awareness and creates positive attitudes about oneself.
Marshall fount that involvement and achievement in school music builds positive self-image which is a motivation for academic learning among urban black middle school students.
MUSIC AND ACHIEVEMENT A study of 237 second grade children used piano keyboard training and newly designed math software to demonstrate improvement in math skills. The group scored 27% higher on proportional math and fractions tests than children that used only the math software. Graziano, Amy, Matthew Peterson, and Gordon Shaw, "Enhanced learning of proportional math through music training and spatial-temporal training." Neurological Research 21 (March 1999).
In an analysis of U.S. Department of Education data on more than 25,000 secondary school students (NELS:88, National Education Longitudinal Survey), researchers found that students who report consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show "significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12." This observation holds regardless of students' socio-economic status, and differences in those who are involved with instrumental music vs. those who are not is more significant over time. Catterall, James S., Richard Chapleau, and John Iwanaga. "Involvement in the Arts and Human Development: General Involvement and Intensive Involvement in Music and Theater Arts." Los Angeles, CA: The Imagination Project at UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, 1999.
Students with coursework/experience in music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT: students in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal and 41 points higher on the math, and students in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on the math, than did students with no arts participation. College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile of SAT Program Test Takers. Princeton, NJ: The College Entrance Examination Board, 2001.
According to statistics compiled by the National Data Resource Center, students who can be classified as "disruptive" (based on factors such as frequent skipping of classes, times in trouble, in-school suspensions, disciplinary reasons given, arrests, and drop-outs) total 12.14 percent of the total school population. In contrast, only 8.08 percent of students involved in music classes meet the same criteria as "disruptive." Based on data from the NELS:88 (National Education Longitudinal Study), second follow-up, 1992.
Data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 showed that music participants received more academic honors and awards than non-music students, and that the percentage of music participants receiving As, As/Bs, and Bs was higher than the percentage of non- participants receiving those grades. NELS:88 First Follow-up, 1990, National Center for Education Statistics, Washington DC.
Physician and biologist Lewis Thomas studied the undergraduate majors of medical school applicants. He found that 66% of music majors who applied to medical school were admitted, the highest percentage of any group. 44% of biochemistry majors were admitted. As reported in "The Case for Music in the Schools," Phi Delta Kappan, February 1994.
A study of 811 high school students indicated that the proportion of minority students with a music teacher role-model was significantly larger than for any other discipline. 36% of these students identified music teachers as their role models, as opposed to 28% English teachers, 11% elementary teachers, 7% physical education/sports teachers, 1% principals. D.L. Hamann and L.M. Walker, "Music teachers as role models for African-American students," Journal of Research in Music Education, 41, 1993.
Students who participated in arts programs in selected elementary and middle schools in New York City showed significant increases in self-esteem and thinking skills. National Arts Education Research Center, New York University, 1990
There have been a number of studies done on the effect of music on academic development. It has been shown that high school music students have higher grade point averages than non-music students in the same school. At Mission Viejo High School in Southern California in 1981, the overall grade point average of music students was 3.59 and for non-music students the overall grade point average was 2.91. This same study also found that 16% of the music students had a 4.0 overall grade point average and only 5% of the non-music students had a 4.0 overall grade point average.3 A study of graduates of the New York City School of Performing Arts found that 90% of them go on to college.
Rees feels that involvement in high school music programs helps students develop the skills necessary for a variety of occupations. She states: "Successful music students tend to possess the qualities and skills that are generally considered essential to employers in business, education and service organizations."5 She also recognizes that music education assists students in improving their writing, communication skills and DOES improve analytical skills. Rees further states that to be successful in music, takes a great deal of self-discipline and notes that "music majors have the highest SAT scores in all areas."
Fred Hargadon, former Dean of Admissions for Stanford University, in a 1983 interview with Stauffer said, "We look for students who have taken part in orchestra, symphonic band, chorus and drama. It shows a level of energy and an ability to organize time that we are after here. It shows that they can carry a full academic load and learn something else. It means that these particular students already know how to get involved and that's the kind of campus we want to have."
Christensen (Biernat) has found that research studies have consistently shown that participation in student activities is beneficial to students.6 Success in college can be more accurately predicted by levels of individual achievements in student activities (drama, debate, music etc.) than it can from SAT scores, class rank and grades in school. Conversely, studies of dropout students show that these students have had the least amount of participation in school activities.
Music participation does have a positive impact on reading.
A reading program in New York dramatically improved reading achievement scores by including music and art in the curriculum.
Winston writes about how learning to read music enhances the student's ability to perform the skills necessary for reading, listening, anticipating, forecasting, memory training, recall skills, concentration techniques and speed reading.
It has also been found that music students can out-perform non-music students on achievement tests in reading and math.
Referring to reading and communication skills, Kuffler recognized the contributions the arts can make to the development of perceptual and cognitive skills.
There are similar studies in the area of mathematics that show gains in test scores in math for music students when compared to non-music students.
Maltester found that increased instruction in music can lead to increased learning in mathematics.
A study conducted in the Albuquerque, New Mexico public schools concluded by comparing all areas of the California Test of Basic Skills (CTBS). It was found that music students in an instrumental class for two or more years scored significantly higher than non-music students.
Grace Nash, an Arizona music educator, has found that incorporating music into mathematics lessons has enabled students to learn multiplication tables and math formulas more easily.
That Playing An Instrument Can Improve Your Child’s Grades & Test Scores?
Middle school and high school students who participated in instrumental music scored significantly higher than their non-band peers in standardized tests. University studies conducted in Georgia and Texas found significant correlations between the number of years of instrumental music instruction and academic achievement in math, science and language arts. Source: University of Sarasota Study, Jeffrey Lynn Kluball; East Texas State University Study, Daryl Erick Trent
Students who were exposed to the music-based lessons scored a full 100% higher on fractions tests than those who learned in the conventional manner.
Second-grade and third-grade students were taught fractions in an untraditional manner — by teaching them basic music rhythm notation. The group was taught about the relationships between eighth, quarter, half and whole notes. Their peers received traditional fraction instruction. Source: Neurological Research, March 15, 1999 , Foundation For Universal Music Literacy Research Materials
That Playing Music Can Help Your Children Understand Math Better? Research shows that piano students are better equipped to comprehend mathematical and scientific concepts.
A group of preschoolers received private piano keyboard lessons and singing lessons. A second group received private computer lessons. Those children who received piano/keyboard training performed 34% higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal ability than the others — even those who received computer training.
“Spatial-temporal” is basically proportional reasoning — ratios, fractions, proportions and thinking in space and time. This concept has long been considered a major obstacle in the teaching of elementary math and science. Source: Neurological Research February 28, 1997
"Music is a magical gift we must nourish and cultivate in our children, especially now as scientific evidence proves that an education in the arts makes better math and science students, enhances spatial intelligence in newborns, and let's not forget that the arts are a compelling solution to teen violence, certainly not the cause of it!" Michael Greene, Recording Academy President and CEO at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards, February 2000.
The U.S. Department of Education lists the arts as subjects that college-bound middle and junior high school students should take, stating "Many colleges view participation in the arts and music as a valuable experience that broadens students' understanding and appreciation of the world around them. It is also well known and widely recognized that the arts contribute significantly to children's intellectual development." In addition, one year of Visual and Performing Arts is recommended for college-bound high school students. Getting Ready for College Early: A Handbook for Parents of Students in the Middle and Junior High School Years, U.S. Department of Education, 1997 <http://www.childrensmusicworkshop.com/advocacy/benefits.html>
That Playing Music Helps Under-Achievers? Music training helps under-achievers. In Rhode Island, researchers studied eight public school first grade classes. Half of the classes became “test arts” groups, receiving ongoing music and visual arts training.
In kindergarten, this group had lagged behind in scholastic performance. After seven months, the students were given a standardized test. The “test arts” group had caught up to their fellow students in reading and surpassed their classmates in math by 22%.
In the second year of the project, the arts students widened this margin even further. Students were also evaluated on attitude and behavior. Classroom teachers noted improvement in these areas also. Source: Nature May 23, 1996
That The World’s Top Academic Countries Place A High Value On Music Education.
Hungary, Netherlands and Japan stand atop worldwide science achievement and have strong commitment to music education. All three countries have required music training at the elementary and middle school levels, both instrumental and vocal, for several decades.
The centrality of music education to learning in the top-ranked countries seems to contradict the United States' focus on math, science, vocabulary, and technology. Source: 1988 International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IAEEA) Test