Strings and Dreams Cut: How Does Eliminating Music Education Affect Academic Performance? In May 2005, “93% of Americans [believed] that the arts are vital to providing a well-rounded education for children [and] 86% agree an arts education encourages and assists in the improvement of a child’s attitudes toward school” (Ruppert 7). Yet, every day there are more and more music programs being cut from school curriculums. Some schools have cut all extra-curricular activities, including sports, while others may have only cut music programs. So people often ask: what is the mpact of choosing to cut music programs in schools?
Or: does music even affect students’ academic performance? In a world where music is part of the everyday lifestyle in some way, cutting music programs from school curriculums due to “financial problems” does more harm than good for students, teachers, parents, older and newer generations alike directly and indirectly affected because of the impact on the human brain caused by music. Music is seen as a blessing to many individuals because it has such a positive impact on students, teachers, parents, and all generations because we are all linked o music somehow.
These programs in the arts (band, choir, orchestra, and art to name a few) have such an impact on civilization every day. In some cases the arts helps children develop self-confidence, convince students of school’s value, and can teach about past civilizations (Chira). Students who are involved in music have so much more confidence in themselves and use their talents to express themselves; this is easier to do when they have an adult they look up to that completely supports them. Scott Voss, the main character from “Here Comes the Boom” is the perfect example.
He risked his life and career Just to restore faith in the young students in music and to raise money to fund their music program. Another example is a teacher from the New York Times article “As Schools Trim Budgets, The Arts Lose Their Place” who has her students sell their art at fence shows throughout the city. Not only does this give the students a profit used partially to provide most of the money for art supplies, but it also gives these students a sense of pride, Joy and confidence in themselves.
This experience also teaches students about business and entrepreneurship. All of this leaves parents, and other family members feeling proud of their students, which can have parents feeling blessed that these music programs exist for their students. An age old controversy regarding music though, is how music impacts the brain and affects academic performance. Some argue that music greatly impacts the brain, while others believe there is no impact to the brain caused by music. Ruppert writes about students’ achievements when they had music classes in their transcripts.
She states “students who participate in arts learning experiences often improve their acnlevement In otner realms 0T learnlng ana IITe” Arts” Rooert Glass explains that music can affect brain development and even positively affect study habits. I know, from personal experience, that when I have access to music I enjoy, I can better comprehend the school work I am occupied with. I wanted to understand how this happened so I interviewed Mr. DeBoer, a teacher with a masters in music education. When I asked “how does music affect one’s academic performance? I was enlightened by his answer of “Judging by my research, students in choir exhibit higher test scores… I believe that music students are more in touch with their inner eing and able to express more what they are feeling-therefore having a higher emotional This response brings me back to Ruppert’s findings on academics and music. When students have 4+ years of art experience they score almost 50 points higher for the SAT in comparison to students who have had h year or less of experience in the arts.
Also, according to my survey, most students who are in the arts either are in honors or have higher GPAs, as well as being highly involved with sports or clubs throughout our school. In schools across the country, music and art programs are constantly being cut for ifferent reasons and these cuts are causing a detriment to students’ academic performance. The most common cause for elimination of music programs in school curriculums is financial problems, as in funding cuts. Consequently, an issue that continues to reveal itself is the fact that many schools are cutting complete music programs, when athletics stay unharmed.
In “Cloquet School Board Members Wonder Why Cuts Suggested for Music Programs, Not Sports” there are many board members who question the superintendent’s decision to cut the music programs when on the ist of potential programs to be cut, not a single sport was to be cut. When the superintendent was confronted, he simply replied with “We’d get in trouble with the community’ (Papas). Instead of cutting sports, the superintendent’s way of decreasing the school’s funding for sports was to increase sport fees by about $50.
Another school in New York was not able to afford the funding for music programs because there was a focus on employing bilingual teachers. Schools are finding “bigger and better” reasons to spend money rather than spending it on aesthetics that can help students achieve academic performance. With all this information, you may find yourself wondering why music programs are being cut. As stated before, most music programs, even art programs are being cut, because of “financial problems”.
But I can’t help to question whether that is the true. A commentator from the Cloquet school district had a hard time understanding the music cuts being caused by financial problems. She recalls the district making over $4 million in general funding. She is not convinced that the district is in “dire straits” (Papas). Also, the fear of not making Adequate Yearly Progress is another eason some schools cut back on music programs because school administrators believe the arts are only distractions from students studying.
As I have provided evidence before showing otherwise, I believe cutting music programs is only causing more harm to students’ academics. When something as beautiful as music, or anything in the arts, is slipping through our hands, we want to do what we can to keep it. So we ask: why is this happening? What is the solution? Well, in the words of a wise man, Mr. DeBoer, “parents, students, ana muslc teacners n eea to De vlgllant In aavocatlng ts 0T music”.