Why is Music Education Important?
Music education helps to develop language skills.
Researchers have found that, even accounting for income disparity, students who take music lessons do better on standardized reading tests. The theory is that the real-time pattern recognition required to sing or play an instrument works the same part of your brain as reading, but in a more playful way that feels less stressful. (There is a lot of other research that shows that learning in a state of playfulness is more effective than in a state of work.)
Music education helps students learn to memorize and process patterns.
Quarter notes, half notes, finger patterns on ukuleles and recorders, drum lines and melodies are all examples of patterns. Learning to identify and use these patterns is how musicians build mastery. The mental strength that we learn practicing our instruments translates to other patterns in life; reading, math, even emotional intelligence and empathy. (ex: If I feel happy when x happens to me, she will feel happy when x happens to her.)
Music education builds empathy and emotional intelligence and resilience.
Music is hard and performing can be scary. Learning to face and overcome challenges in a safe environment helps you realize how amazing you really are and how much you can actually do!
Music education builds teamwork skills.
Most musicians work in groups. Having a team and a shared goal requires students to learn how to work with others. Working on a creative project in a group can be frustrating at first, but over time being part of an ensemble (a group of musicians) can help students feel valued an included, and teach them how to work through disagreements and still reach the group goal of making something amazing together.
Music education increases physical coordination.
Learning to use your fingers to make notes on instruments, or to make your singing voice sound the way you want it to, or even to dance to a variety of musical styles may or may not cause you to break a sweat. However, all of these things cause your brain to undergo a major workout as you teach your body to do something that is initially awkward and strange. With practice, you learn what works and what doesn't and you can become a very impressive performer!