Benefits of Music Education
In an increasingly diverse society, music education is key to putting children on a path to success in all areas of life. The Arts Education Partnership reemphasizes that point by stating that children can attain high achievements due to their participation in the arts. They are better prepared to manage stressful situations at school, better prepared for work-life, and gain a strong commitment to civic engagement. Students actively involved in the arts learn how to articulate their intentions, receive and offer constructive criticism, and listen actively to others’ ideas.¹
¹ Arts Education Partnership. Preparing Students for the Next America, The Benefits of an Arts Education
Music as a Vehicle for Social Change
The sequential nature of developing musical skills helps children unlock intellectual potential for academic achievement and gain the self-confidence needed to succeed, ultimately overcoming the disadvantages of poverty and inequality. The values of community, teamwork, responsibility and mutual respect, are embedded in classical musical training and performance. Children exhibit more pro-social behavior as they practice and perform music because they see themselves as capable of and responsible for creating positive outcomes.
Focus on Resilience
In spite of difficult circumstances, children can manage to overcome enormous challenges and thrive. Prevention research has identified protective factors, which, if developed in children, allow them to display resilience in the face of adversity. As such, in recent years, there has been a shift away from applying a more traditional deficit model with at-risk youth deemphasizing pathology and focusing on resilience.
Path to Healthy Outcomes
The benefits of music education are powerful and far-reaching. Although research on the impact of music education is still nascent, youth involvement in music education has been linked to lower rates of substance use, elevated performance on standardized tests (math and verbal SAT scores), higher GPA, elevated self-esteem, and improved conduct. The rigorous process of learning how to play a musical instrument also enhances the development of critical life skills such as discipline, self-control, patience, and perseverance.
Arts-based programs are especially useful for youth in disadvantaged populations because they can increase self-confidence and help develop creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Involvement in music provides a healthy escape from these at-risk youth’s everyday lives, gives them a sense of hope and belonging and facilitates reaching their untapped and boundless potential.
Project TREBLE – Impact (Testing Resilience in an Ensemble-Based Learning Environment)
Our partner from Florida International University, FIU-BRIDGE (formerly C-BIRG), is conducting an ongoing longitudinal study that is examining in a multifaceted manner how participation in the Miami Music Project, an El Sistema-inspired program, impacts the lives of youth. Results from a preliminary report were powerful. Most parents reported noticing improvement in their child’s skills across a variety of domains as a result of his/her participation in Miami Music Project including:
• CONFIDENCE: 98%
• COOPERATION: 85%
• CONCENTRATION: 98%
• SELF-MOTIVATION: 95%
• DETERMINATION: 94%
• TIME MANAGEMENT: 91%
• CREATIVITY: 95%
• SELF-ESTEEM: 93%
• COMMUNICATION: 95%
• LEADERSHIP: 98%
Data taken from Project TREBLE preliminary report of Year 2 data collection activities (8/26/2015).