With budget cuts, belt-tightening, and pressure to boost test scores, music education is being played out of classrooms across the United States. Concerns about financing musical education are overriding parent desires for their children’s well-rounded education. No child left behind The No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 has narrowed the public school curriculum, decreasing the availability of music courses and focusing on stronger math and language arts preparation. A portion of this act did include art and music programs as core subjects, but failed to set up a system to ensure that public schools maintained those programs.
In a recent national survey of 3rd-12thgrade teachers, 66% reported that music programs get “crowded out by extra attention being paid to math and language arts. “Well-rounded children Researchers have been studying the benefits of music education for decades, and have consistently found strong correlations between music and academic achievement. According to a 10-year study that tracked more than 25,000 middle and high-school students, music-making students get higher marks on standardized tests than those with little or no music involvement. The arts help students explore relationships and ideas that cannot be conveyed in words or numbers. The arts also encourage problem-solving strategies that can be applied to other academic disciplines.
What is the cost? A recently released study by the National Association of Music Merchants found that a comprehensive education program for kindergarten through high school only costs about $187 per student annually. This first study of its kind proves that it is fairly economical to keep music education in schools if funding and cutting is balanced.
Joe Almond, president and CEO of NAMM states, “We cannot sell a child’s education short for what are pennies on the dollar. Music education is among the best investments we can make in our schools and for our children. “Instrument storage Another excuse given for excluding music education is the cost and space required for instrument storage.
Today’s teachers and school administrators are finding manageable, practical ways to combat this dilemma. Shelving units, cabinets, and cubbies can all be purchased or re-purposed to store any musical instruments, from triangles to tubas. Rolling carts are an option for music educators who find themselves teaching in nontraditional spaces like a gym or a small corner of the cafeteria. No matter the size or location, some simple, sensible classroom design can transform any space into an engaging location for making music.
Dismissing music education and its relatively inexpensive cost for school districts is a precarious choice for schools. Music programs boost children’s ability to do well in math and reading, and provide a place for success and self-esteem to be fostered. For the sake of our children and our communities, music education should not be overlooked. Susan Niemen is the Director of marketing at Aurora Storage, the leader in manufacturing commercial storage and filing systems for over 132 years