Reasons to Study Music

Reasons to Study Music

Music lessons have been shown to improve a child's performance in school. After eight months of keyboard lessons, preschoolers tested showed a 46% boost in their spatial IQ, which is crucial for higher brain functions such as complex mathematics.
-Frances Rauscher, Ph.D., Gordon Shaw, Ph.D. University of California, Irvine

Students with coursework/experience in music performance scored 51 points higher on the verbal portion of the SAT and 39 points higher on the math portion of the SAT than students with no coursework or experience in the arts.
- Profiles of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, The College Board, complied by the Music Educators National Conference, 1995

Mozart's Piano Sonata K448 was found to significantly increase spatial scores of college students on IQ tests when the Sonata was listened to for 10 minutes, dubbed the "Mozart Effect."
-From "Nature," copyright 1993, University of California Press

Disadvantaged preschoolers display dramatic improvements in spatial reasoning ability after music training.
-Drs. Rauscher and Shaw, University of California, Irvine.

There is a direct correlation between improved SAT scores and the length of time spent studying the arts. Those who studied the arts four or more years scored 59 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math portions of the SAT than students with no coursework or experience in the arts.
-Profiles of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, The College Board, complied by the Music Educators National Conference, 1995

A Gallup Survey on American's attitudes towards music revealed the following:

93% of Gallup Survey respondents agree music is part of a well-rounded education. 

86% feel all schools should offer instrumental music as part of regular curriculum. 

88% believe music helps a child's overall intellectual development. 

70% believe school music program participation corresponds to better grades and test scores. 

85% believe communities should provide financial resources to support these programs. 

-1994 Gallup Survey

Seventy-one percent of respondents in a Gallup Survey think music education should be mandated by states.
-1994 Gallup Survey

The U.S. Department of Labor issued a report in 1991 urging schools to teach for the future workplace. The skills they recommend (working in teams, communication, self-esteem, creative thinking, imagination, and invention) are exactly those learned in school music and arts education programs.

March 1996 marked the second anniversary of the release of the "National Standards for Arts Education," as well as the recognition of the arts, among other academic disciplines, as a core subject.

Parents are crucial in helping implement the "National Standards for Arts Education" by assessing the school's arts education program and teacher qualification; evaluating the community's cultural assets; and forming an arts education coalition.
- "What Parents Can Do," published by Music Educators National Conference and the National PTA

Today's music students are more self-motivated, interested in technology, and are better musicians than students two decades ago.
-1995 survey conducted by the Music Teachers National Association.

The College Board identifies the arts as one of the six basic academic subject areas students should study in order to succeed in college.
-The College Board, New York, 1983

The very best engineers and technical designers in the Silicon Valley industry are, nearly without exception, practicing musicians.
- The Center for the Arts in the Basic Curriculum, New York, 1989

Physician and biologist Lewis Thomas collected information about the undergraduate majors of medical school applicants. He found that sixty-six percent of music majors who appied to medical school were admitted, the highest percentage of any group. Forty-four percent of biochemistry majors were admitted.
- Phi Delta Kappan, February 1994

New Gallup Survey Highlights Strong Support for Music Education

An overwhelming number of Americans believe music is an important part of a well-rounded education, according the 1997 "American Attitudes Towards Music" poll conducted by the Gallup Organization. Not only does this survey come on the heels of the latest scientific study showing the intellectual benefits of music training on children, but its findings suggest that American attitudes have been affected by this mounting research. A study published earlier this year in the scientific journal Neurological Research found that children with music training showed significantly greater improvement in their spatial temporal reasoning skills, skills needed for learning math and science, than their peers who were given like amounts of computer training.

Music Involvement in Education

Given that Americans recognize the importance of offering music education in schools, almost 9 in 10 definitely agree that music helps a child's overall intellectual development. The poll found that 70% of respondents believe music education should be mandated by the states to ensure that children receive music exposure. In addition, since 1992 20% more Americans believe music should be a part of a school program.

An overwhelming 9 in 10 agree that music is a part of a well-rounded education, and 88%, up 4% from 1992, agree that schools should offer instrumental music instruction as part of the regular curriculum. Further supporting the schools influence in exposing children to music, the poll reveals that most current and former players first learned to play a musical instrument at school. Today 59% of children aged 12-17 first learned to play an instrument at school, compared with 26% fifty years ago.

SAT Data

Once again data released from the College Board 1997 Profile of College-Bound Seniors shows students who participate in arts education courses score higher on the SAT's than those who do not. The improvement continues to be more pronounced with increased years of participation.

Irvine, CA (February 28, 1997) A research team exploring the link between music and intelligence reports that music training -- specifically piano instruction -- is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children's abstract reasoning skills necessary for learning math and science.

The new findings, published in the February 1997 issue of Neurological Research, are the result of a two-year experiment with preschoolers, led by psychologist Dr. Frances Rauscher of the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh and physicist Dr. Gordon Shaw of the University of California at Irvine. As a follow-up to their groundbreaking studies indicating how music can enhance spatial-reasoning ability, the researchers set out to compare the effects of musical and non-musical training on intellectual development.