DEFINING MUSIC EDUCATION.

Music is an experiential art that equips students to encounter life with a higher level of creativity and discipline and gives them a deeper understanding of the culture in which they live. Music is all around us every day, and makes a tangible difference and impact on the lives of people.

 

WHY TEACH MUSIC?

The education of music is a crucial part of the history of the planet and civilization, as well as being an absolutely critical means of advancing the human race through emotional, logical, intellectual, and even physical development. 


Imagine our culture without movie soundtracks, commercials jingles, folk songs, radio music to make long drives more bearable, music to dance to during festivals and parades, parties and formals. Music is deeply rooted in culture, and often times had a strong influence on the advancement of that culture. The connections made by students in a music education program are crucial to their understanding of society and its development.

 

WHO SHOULD BE TAUGHT?

Music education should begin at a very young age, while the brain is still in fairly early development. If children can make connections and begin to understand music at a young age, this could potentially help them be more successful later in life. Furthermore, students should continue education in music through high school at least to some extent. While not every student may choose to join band or choir, they certainly should still be educated musically in alignment with their other core classes to help reinforce topics covered. When students graduate high school, they should all at least be fairly competent in reading basic notation and understanding various musical genres and styles, being comfortable to create music of their own. Moreover, they should understand the history behind music, and how it not only relates, but corresponds directly with the progression of the world through the ages. This understanding can help students further apprehend and appreciate the culture they are stepping into when they graduate. This system should not focus on music education as an “elective plan”, but rather a critical element of connecting other subject areas and relating education to the culture in which they live.

 

HOW SHOULD THEY BE TAUGHT?

Music should be taught through active participation. Just as physical education cannot simply be taught in a lecture style without any students exercising, stretching, or putting any physical activity to practice, music cannot be taught with students sitting in a chair only listening to a teacher lecture. Music must be taught in a way where students are able to enjoy themselves while creating music of their own and appreciate music for music’s sake, and not as just another required class.

 

HOW IS MUSIC RELEVANT?

In addition to various studies attributing advanced spatial reasoning to music education, among other benefits, music is one of the few disciplines in which an assessment requires little to no mistakes. In many disciplines, 70% accuracy is acceptable, passing, and even considered average. Whereas in music, imagine what a piece would sound like if the average musician missed 2 or 3 notes out of every 10 notes. 


In most situations, music requires a higher level of discipline and accuracy than most other areas in the current education system just to be considered mediocre. And this mindset will often transfer to other areas of life, whether it is for other subject areas in school, home life, service to the community, or just an overall rejection of mediocrity and drive for excellence. 

 

Anita Collins explores the brain’s stimulation when engaged in musical activities in this TEDEd original video (2014)

 
 

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