Why Music Education Should be Mandatory Schools
Gabriana Rosario, Division 2, 12th grade #ws18e-s3d2

Whether it is performing, writing, or simply enjoying, many would agree that music is important to them in their lives. Many musicians got access to music at an early age. Louis Armstrong began playing trumpet at age 11. Shakira started singing at age 4 and signed her first contract at age 13. Musical talent can be found and provoked in childhood and schools should want to assist discovering talent. And even for students without talent, music can still be enjoyable and beneficial, and proper music classes can aid children's ability to appreciate the music they enjoy. Music education in schools has emotional, physical, and intellectual benefits, along with giving access to music instruction for all students.

For young age students, music classes can have various emotional benefits. A child’s self-confidence grows with their musical abilities. Also, the confidence in a student’s musical interests is affected by the support from the school and its administration, teachers, and parents. Showing students that their interests are valid by providing programs in schools increases students’ confidence in themselves and their choices. Musicians also gain a sense of achievement from music education. As they learn skills and perform more songs, students gain pride in what they accomplished. This is especially important for students who lack talent in other school subjects. A music program will allow them to find a sense of accomplishment, giving them pride and confidence in themselves. The school environment can thereon improve, being filled by more confident and interested students. Performing the music learned can build confidence in the students as well. Learning to perform in front of peers can eliminate “stage-fright” that many young children have. This fear may stop students from doing activities they might enjoy, but overcoming this fear early allows students to pursue options like public speaking or continuing musical performance. Through music, students can gain self-confidence and have an overall happier school experience, benefiting students and the school.

There are social benefits to music education as well, like teamwork. Many music programs are ensembles of students performing together. A piece of music will not sound correct if every musician is not contributing and working together. Working with peers is essential in accomplishing goals since there is less competition because each individual is working together. This closes the “achievement gap” among students, brought about by differences in skill level. This gap can be closed by allowing students to work together on music, which brings them all down to the same level. If all students are given the opportunity to start their musical education at the same age, every child will have the ability to be at the same skill level as their peers. Music also has beneficial social aspects, for it allows different groups of people to connect by bonding over shared interests or exploring their different ones. Sharing these interests and presenting music to others allows students to become a part of a music community that is present around the world. With learning music, students are provided with emotional and social benefits as they gain confidence and work together with their peers and other groups of people at a young age.

Many parents would prefer their children get exercise through a sport rather than them playing an instrument. However, many schools require gym classes, so it’s not necessary to choose sports for exercise. Nevertheless, music has been proven to have many physical benefits. Learning about and playing music uses multiple skill sets simultaneously, like eyes, ears, and a variety of muscles. Recents studies show that music improves language skills because both skills are on the left side of the brain. As language skills increase, so does social confidence, which is a skill many young children struggle to achieve. Playing music, even with music to look at, requires memorization of how to play the instrument and what the sheet music is telling the musician to do. The ability to learn music also increases concentration skills and abilities. Playing music requires concentrating on what has to be played while listening to what is being played by others, in order to fit the parts together. This ability is helpful to students with difficulty concentrating in an unquiet environment, like most classrooms. Having access to music can help students gain and advance many abilities.

Studies have shown that grades are positively affected by music education. Children with early exposure to music have shown an increase in IQ at a young age and higher SAT scores in highschool when compared to students without music education, especially at an early age. A professor of music education at the University of Kansas published a study that said students in elementary schools with high quality music programs scored around 20% higher on standardized tests compared to schools with low quality programs. If such a difference in scores is created by variance of the quality of the music class, then simply having music programs will show much higher test scores. Japan, the Netherlands, and Hungary are some of the world’s top academic countries, and music is mandatory in their curriculums starting at an early age. By incorporating music into a school’s programs, the intellectual capabilities of students will dramatically increase, shown through their IQ level and test scores.

Many schools around the country have strong music programs that give opportunities to students interested in music. However, these programs are not mandatory. Students should be free to decide what types of classes they take, but nevertheless, classes like math, history, and even gym, are still required, while music is not. Even though there are many benefits to curricular classes, the benefits of music education create a more well-rounded learning experience in schools. If music is not a topic a student wishes to explore, the benefits from access to music education can help them broaden their perspective and prepare them for success in their life.. Music is something different to every individual, and students should be allowed to discover what music means to them.
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