Save Our Arts: We Need Music Education

by Andrew Liu, age 16

The Madison School District is facing more budget cuts than ever and music programs will be among the first to go. Just in the last few years, one entire orchestra was cut from the Madison Memorial music program and more cuts will follow. For example, the music department is in need of important items such as instruments and stands, but no funds are available from the school district.

I believe that playing an instrument should be a part of everyone’s life. Playing the violin has certainly helped me in my academic career. I have practiced the violin for eight years now and have had private lessons for four. Because I wanted to succeed at playing the violin, I was very rigorous with my practice schedule. I always forced myself to practice at least an hour a day. As a result, I performed well in auditions for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra and concerto competitions. The strict schedule of practicing my instrument transferred to finishing my homework on time, which helped my academic career. As a result of this routine, my grades stayed high throughout my middle and high school years. Research has found that children playing an instrument teach themselves to be more self-disciplined, more attentive, and better at planning. This results in higher academic performance.

In addition, other studies have proven that playing an instrument benefits you tremendously in life. These studies show that musicians tend to develop the parts of the brain used for motor skills, hearing, and storing memories faster. In fact, “Learning to play a musical instrument has definite benefits and can increase IQ by seven points, in both children and adults,” according to Lutz Jancke, a psychologist at the University of Zurich. 

Playing an instrument helps with processing audio information because musicians must learn to read scores and understand tones. These audio and reading skills can improve any persons’ ability to learn languages faster. A recent experiment had 20 adult volunteers watch movies with some Mandarin Chinese, a tone-emphasized language. Not surprisingly, the musically trained subjects tracked and followed the movie much more easily. 

I feel strongly that music should be an essential part of student life. Cutting back on school music programs will, in the long run, hurt our education system. Providing ongoing musical opportunities is an important part of core curriculum.

[Source: The Telegraph]


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