Plato once said that music “is a more potent instrument than any other for education”. The benefits of music education can be seen in various areas of life. It affects the growth of a child’s brain academically, emotionally, and physically.
Music is academic. A recent study from the University of California found that music trains the brain for higher forms of thinking. Second graders who were given music lessons scored 27% higher on proportional math and fractions tests than children who received no special instruction. Students who participated in instrumental music scored significantly higher than their non-band peers in standardized tests. Research indicates that musical training permanently wires a young mind for enhanced performance. Researchers also found that music and movement programs have a positive impact on child development.
Music is emotional. Music is an art form. We are emotional beings and every child requires an artistic outlet. Music may be every child’s vehicle of expression.
Music is physical. Music can be described as a sport. Learning to sing and keep rhythm develops coordination. The air and wind power necessary to blow a flute, trumpet or saxophone promotes a healthy body.
Music is for life. Most people can’t play soccer, or football at 70 or 80 years of age but they can sing. And they can play piano or some other instrument. Music is a gift you can give your child that will last their entire lives.
MMIC acknowledges that music plays a major role in health, wellness, socialization and other factors that contribute to wellness and quality of life for children as well as adults. It is a tool (vehicle) for prodigious child development, the establishment of social connections and an opportunity for individuals to engage across cultures and generations in a positive way.
MMIC is located is several urban areas in New York City. These urban centers often do not offer safe spaces for children, young adults and adults to gather for recreational and educational purposes. Research has shown the positive effects of music to address delinquency prevention, depression, even to support deficiencies in literacy and social behavioral problems in youth. Understanding the enormous benefits of music instruction, MMIC is committed to providing high quality music and arts education in these urban areas. The organization’s goal is to integrate cutting edge technology in our music instruction with a future vision of providing professional development courses to those who may be interested in beginning music institutes of their own.
Music as a Tool for Advancement
The following facts demonstrate the benefits of music instruction toward the continued advancement of the student:
– Students taking courses in music performance and music appreciation scored higher in the SAT than students with no arts participation.
– Music performance students scored 53 points higher on the verbal and 39 points higher on the math.
– Music appreciation students scored 61 points higher on the verbal and 42 points higher on the math. (Source: 1999 College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile of SAT Program Test Takers, The College Entrance Examination Board, Princeton, New Jersey)
– According to the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, music students received more academic honors and awards than non-music students. A higher percentage of music participants received As, As/Bs, and Bs than non-music participants. (Source: NELS: 88 First Follow-up, 1990, National Center for Education Statistics, Washington D.C.)
– Music study develops skills that are necessary in the workplace. It focuses on “doing,” as opposed to observing, and teaches students how to perform, literally, anywhere in the world. Employers are looking for multi-dimensional workers with the sort of flexible and supple intellects that music education helps to create as described above.
– In the music classroom, students can also learn to better communicate and cooperate with one another.
Decline in Music Programs
Despite the proven benefits of music there continues to be a decline in city and statewide music programs. Much of this is due to financial strain which disproportionately affects music and art programs in public elementary schools. Overall, reports have shown that the percentage of children with access to music has declined 50% in the past five years.
In the face of these drastic cuts, MMIC seeks to fill this gap and continue to provide music instruction in urban areas. MMIC has recently expanded to a second location serving the Flatbush community and implements programs that use music, the universal language, and one of the most popular and advertised mediums for communication, to engage youth in positive development. The youth programs provide educational support and various activities to hold the interest of these youth. MMIC programs inherently incorporate reading skills, math skills, effective communication and social skills such as team building into its instruction.
 Carolyn Phillips is the author of the Twelve Benefits of Music Education. She is the Former Executive Director of the Norwalk Youth Symphony, CT.
 *Nieves, Anne-Marie. “Advocates Gather at Public Hearings on September 9 to Contest Further Cuts to Music Education Programs in CA Schools.” 7 Nov. 2008 <http://www.amc-music.com/news/pressreleases/ca-crisis.htm>.