Benefits of Music

Music is a foundation to our lives. We have always believed that making music benefits the individual in a variety of ways. Learning to play an instrument enhances both social and intellectual development, as well as aiding in the development of teamwork skills. Music benefits our emotional and physical health, enhances our spiritual experience and our enjoyment of life. Everyone enjoys some type of music and almost everyone at some time in their life wishes they could play a musical instrument.

Over the last few years, research has proven the benefits of music. While this isn't news to us, we are pleased others are realizing it as well. Below are just a few examples of this research (found at www.menc.org). Also at the bottom of this page we have listed some other links to music research and benefit sites.

Social Benefits

Secondary students who participated in band or orchestra reported the lowest lifetime and current use of all substances (alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs). - Texas Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse Report. Reported in Houston Chronicle, January 1998

The College Board identifies the arts as one of the six basic academic subject areas students should study in order to succeed in college. - Academic Preparation for College: What Students Need to Know and Be Able to Do, 1983 [still in use], The College Board, New York

Scholastic Benefits

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, 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 on non-participants receiving those grades. - NELS:88 First Follow-up, 1990, National Center for Education Statistics, Washington DC

Intellectual Benefits

"The musician is constantly adjusting decisions on tempo, tone, style, rhythm, phrasing, and feeling-training the brain to become incredibly good at organizing and conducting numerous activities at once. Dedicated practice of this orchestration can have a great payoff for lifelong attentional skills, intelligence, and an ability for self-knowledge and expression." - Ratey John J., MD. A User's Guide to the Brain. New York: Pantheon Books, 2001.

A research team exploring the link between music and intelligence reported that music training is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children's abstract reasoning skills, the skills necessary for learning math and science. - Shaw, Levine, Wright, Dennis, and Newcomb, "Music training causes long-term enhancement of preschool children's spatial-temporal reasoning," Neurological Research, Vol. 19, February 1997

Quality of Life Benefits

"Music is one way for young people to connect with themselves, but it is also a bridge for connecting with others. Through music, we can introduce children to the richness and diversity of the human family and to the myriad rhythms of life." - Daniel A. Carp, Eastman Kodak Company Chairman and CEO.

"Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them - a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music." - Gerald Ford, former President, United States of America

Other Helpful Links