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Monday, March 02, 2015

Music makes us whole

Tara Bitzan, editor of the Echo Press summarizes,  "Initiative brings awareness to importance of music education."

Andrew Storm plays his tenor saxophone at Alexandria Area High School. Storm believes that music "teaches a lot of life lessons." (Tara Bitzan | Echo Press)

Can musical training improve an ACT score?
Can musical knowledge help a person be a better problem solver?
Can a musical background help someone make more money in a future job?

According to members of the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA), the answer to all of the above is yes!

MMEA and Classical Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) believe that the benefits of music learning extend far beyond the classroom.

The two organizations are co-leading the Music Makes Us Whole initiative, which involves performing arts organizations, after school youth music groups, community music groups, music retailers and music educators.

Those involved believe that every child deserves a rich music education because of the whole-brain, whole-life benefits it provides.

While Minnesota schools have been adding teachers since 2006, the trend in music is the opposite – a decline, according to the latest data from the Minnesota Department of Education. That means larger, fewer or less frequent music classes.

“We advocate for quality music in schools not only because of the music’s intrinsic value in the human experience, but also for the whole brain and whole life benefits to the child, as well as his or her community,” said Brian Newhouse, managing director of MPR classical programming and member of the Music Makes Us Whole initiative.

• Music training stimulates every region of the brain.
• Students with one or more year of high school music experience earn higher ACT scores – 4 percent in math and 7 percent in English.
• Low income students who took music lessons in grades 8-12 saw math, reading, history, geography and social skills soar by 40 percent compared to non music students.
• Reports from the National Endowment of the Arts found that at-risk youth with access to school arts programs also have higher career goals and are more civically engaged.
• Music students gain skills sought out by employers, such as teamwork, communication and problem solving.
• 83 percent of adults with incomes higher than $150,000 participated in music as youths.

Related link
For more information, visit the website www.musicmakesuswhole.or

Source: Alexandria Echo Press

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