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What Is Most Beneficial About Teaching Band and Music Classes to Students in Middle and High School?

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Elizabeth McOmber

Prof. LeAnna Crawford

Wr122

12 May 2018

2506

What is Most Beneficial About Teaching Band and Music Classes to Students

in Middle and High School?

There is quite a lot of debate about music in schools. Many people think music is not an important subject in schools, it gets in the way of or distracts students from other classes, it is too expensive, it has no benefits for society, etc., but many other people say music helps students express themselves, it helps students succeed in school, and some even say that people who think music should not be mandatory in schools are stupid and “have problems” (“Should all Schools Provide”). John McDaniel, an author for the website Classroom, says in his article “Negatives of Music in School” that whether or not someone does or doesn’t support music education, they still should be aware of some negative outcomes that music programs can pose to schools, and then goes on to list several consequences of music programs:

Many music programs pose huge budget concerns for schools, [they] can detract from academics and hinder students' learning in more important areas, [they] can promote competition and rivalry among peers, [and] schools claim that having students with expensive instruments in schools can present an opportunity to get things stolen.

However, there have been many studies that prove that music is not a bad thing to teach students, and some studies show that there can be many benefits from learning music, with one of the best

benefits being that music can help student success in school. 

        Knowing some of the history of music education is beneficial to understanding why music started being taught in schools in the first place. Music has been a part of school curriculums for a very long time, and used to be a very important subject. Grace Ann Stanford, a former author with EduNova, wrote an article on the history of music education in the U.S. In 1717 the first singing school was started with the intent to teach students to read music and sing. In 1832 the Boston Academy of Music was founded, which not only taught “singing instruction but also the study of music and related theory.” It became such a successfully taught subject “that the local school committee pushed for music to be included as part of the syllabus,” thus resulting in music education becoming part of regular school curriculums for students of all ages. In the early 1900s, an organization known as the Music Supervisor’s National Conference was started to help promote the study and teaching of music, and “the rise of music taught in high schools also encouraged students to come together to create marching bands and school orchestras or other musical groups” (Stanford). Donna Krache, a previous member of the Princess Anne High School Fabulous Marching Cavaliers in Virginia Beach, Virginia, gives a reason why marching bands and other music groups can be important:

The students who belong to [the Fabulous Marching Cavaliers] -- and all students who are in marching band -- will sharpen their skills in music and performing over the years. They'll grow artistically and academically as a result. But that's not all they will take away from the experience. It sounds sappy, but the truth is that marching band prepares you for life after high school in so many ways.

Krache also lists several things that can be learned from marching band: commitment, self-confidence, responsibility, appreciation for hard work, and belonging. These are all good benefits that students can get that will also help them succeed in other classes as well as in the rest of their lives outside of school.

Schools often automatically focus on subjects like math and science, mainly due to STEM education. The thought is that “in a world that’s becoming increasingly complex… success is driven not only by what you know, but by what you can do with what you know” (Science). This thought applies to music also. Music is not created from only knowledge. Making music takes practice and work and the want to make it. Being a musician and producing music albums takes both knowing how to make music and actually making it. 

        It’s true that music is expensive for schools and parents of students, because instruments, music sheets, music stands, and anything else needed for whatever kind of music being taught must all be bought or rented. And a teacher, or possibly multiple teachers, must be paid for teaching music to students. Ken Petress, a professor emeritus of communication at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, says “music has taken some of the biggest and more frequent cuts among the arts due, in great part, to the high costs of sheet music and instrument purchase and repair” (Petress). There are many schools out there that just can’t afford to have music as an option for students. But there are also many schools that just refuse to provide music classes, because they do not find them important enough, they do not think their students find them important, and they do not think music can help students prepare for the real world. Kimberly Kowalski, a writer for Odyssey, says the following:

Many people do not realize is that art and music programs do prepare students for the real world. They are safe outlets for students to be creative and to learn new thingsit also teaches discipline because everything takes practice and patience[and,] art and music programs are extremely valuable to a student's education and more importantly their development as a person. Art and music programs are not useless and teach more than most people realize. By cutting these programs, students are missing out on great opportunities to have a true education.

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