When we hear about music and other art programs in our school curriculum, most of us are guilty of putting it aside. For example, the focus is then put on the basic or standard studies in schools such as reading, writing and arithmetic. Little do a lot of us know that the importance of including music in that list is as crucial as the others.
Programs are being cut from school budgets at an alarming rate to save money, i.e. physical education, art and music classes. There is already a whole generation of teachers and parents who haven’t had the advantages of arts in their own education. Many teachers don’t know how to include any kind of art in their teaching these days and parents don’t know how to ask for it.
Studies have shown that including musical studies such as learning to play an instrument or class sing-alongs and even drama have impacted the way children learn and process knowledge. There’s lots of evidence that kids immersed in the arts do better on their academic tests.
The connection of math and music is in the note reading for instance. Quarter, half and whole notes can be applied to fractions, and numbers as well as symbols can also apply to mathematics. The word reading in songs can apply to languages arts, just to mention a couple of ways music is useful in academics.
In 2006 a national survey found that in the five years after enactment of NCLB, that 44% of the school districts increased time spent on academic classes like English language arts and math and decreased time on other subjects. The follow-up analysis in Feb. 2008 showed that 16% of the school districts decreased class time for music and art. In California participation in music courses dropped 46% from 1999-2000 through 2000-2004 and total enrollment increased 6%
Music is an integral part of our everyday lives. It can come in the form of tunes sung by our children when they wander through the house, background music to a TV show or major motion picture, songs on the radio, or arrangements performed at a school orchestra or band concert. So why is it that something fundamental to and so impactful on our lives gets minimal attention at school?