Music Advocacy for the New Millenium

The following quotes and data are from a packet of materials titled Music Advocacy for the New Millenium which was distributed at the International Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in 2000.



Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.



Our society is committing cultural genocide. When the economy tightens and school budgets shrink, programs in music and the other arts are most often the first to be cut back or even totally eliminated from the curriculum. This deprives children of a unique opportunity to develop their creativity, learn self-discipline and teamwork, and increase their sense of self-worth. It strikes me as being supremely ironic that today, we still have to try to make the case that music is indispensable if the term 'educated' is to mean anything.

Michael Greene, President, National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences


I believe arts education in music, theater, dance and the visual arts is one of the most creative ways we have to find the gold that is buried just beneath the surface. They [children] have an enthusiasm for life, a spark of creativity, and vivid imaginations that need training ... training that prepares them to become confident young men and women.

Richard W. Riley, U.S. Secretary of Education


I have a premonition that one day we will soon wake up ... to the realization that stripping instrumental music from our elementary schools was a true blunder of twentieth century American education.

James S. Catterall, professor of education, UCLA


Whoever has skill in music is of good temperament and fitted for all things. We must teach music in schools.

Martin Luther


Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them - a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music."

Gerald Ford, former President of the United States




The 1997 Gallup Survey on Americans' attitudes toward music revealed that eighty-six percent (86%) of adults agree that all schools should offer instrumental music as part of the regular curriculum. The same percentage endorses community financial support for school music education.


Students with coursework/experience in music performance scored 52 points higher on the verbal portion of the SAT and 36 points higher on the math portion than students with no coursework or experience in the arts.

Profiles of SAT, and Achievement Test Takers, The College Board, 1998.


A 1985 study by Edward Kvet showed that student absence from class to study a musical end does not result in lower academic achievement. He found no difference in academic achievement between sixth grade students who were excused from class for instrumental study and those who were not, matching variables of sex, race, IQ, cumulative achievement, school attended, and classroom teacher.

Cutietta, Hamann, and Walker, Spin-Ofs: The Extra-Musical Advantages of a Musical Education, United Musical Instruments U.S.A., Inc., 1995.


Researchers at the University of California-Irvine report that second-grade students given four months of piano keyboard training, as well as time playing with newly designed computer software, scored 27% higher on proportional math and fractions tests than other children.

Shaw, Graziano, and Peterson, Neurological Research, March 15, 1999


The nation's top business executives agree that arts education programs can help repair weaknesses in American education and better prepare workers for the 21st Century.

"The Changing Workplace is Changing Our View of Education," Business Week, October 1996.


A study of 811 high school students indicated that the percentage of minority students with a music teacher role model was significantly higher than for teachers of any other discipline. Thirty-six percent (36%) of these students identified music teachers as their role model compared to 28% English teachers, 11% elementary teachers, and 7% physical education/sports teachers.

D.L. Hamann and L.M. Walker, "Music Teachers as Role Models for African-American Students," Journal ofresearch in Music Education, 1993.


Admissions officers at 70 percent of the nation's major universities have stated that high school credit and achievement in the arts are significant considerations for admission to their institutions.


In a study of approximately 7,500 students at a medium-size university between 1983 and 1988, music and music education majors had the highest reading scores of any Students on campus, including those majoring in English, biology, chemistry, and mathematics.

Peter H. Wood, "The Comparative Academic Abilities of Students in Education and in Other Areas of a Multi-focus University," ERIC Document Number ED327480.


Physician and biologist Lewis Thomas studied the undergraduate majors of medial school applicants. He found that sixty-six percent (66%) of music majors who applied to medical school were admitted, the highest percentage of any group. Forty-four percent (44%) of biochemistry majors were admitted.

"The Case for Music in the Schools," Phi Delta Kappan, 1994


Researchers at the University of Muenster in Germany have discovered that music lessons in childhood actually enlarge parts of the brain. An area used to analyze the pitch of a musical note is enlarged 25% in musicians compared to people who have never played an instrument. The earlier the musicians were when they started musical training, the bigger this area of the brain appears to be.

Pantev et al., Nature, April 23, 1998.


A research team exploring the link between music and intelligence reports that music training, specifically piano instruction, is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children's abstract reasoning skills necessary for learning math and science.

Dr. Frances Rauscher and Dr. Gordon Shaw, Neurological Research, University of California at Irvine, February, 1997.


Studying music strengthens students' academic performance. Studies have indicated that sequential skill-building instruction in art and music integrated with the rest of the curriculum can greatly improve children's performance in reading and math.

Martin Gardiner, Alan Fox, Faith Knowles, and Donna Jeffrey, "Learning Improved by Arts Training," Nature, May 23, 1996.


There is a very high correlation between positive self-perception, high cognitive competence scores, healthy self-esteem, total interest, school involvement, and the study of music.

O.F. Lillemyr, "Achievement Motivation as a Factor in Self-Perception," Norwegian Research Council for Science and the Humanities.


A two-year Swiss study involving 1,200 children in 50 schools showed that students involved in the music program were better at languages, learned to read more easily, showed an improved social climate, demonstrated more enjoyment in school and had a lower stress level than non-music students.

E.W. Weber, M. Spychiger, and J.L. Patry, 1993.


Research shows when the arts are included in a student's curriculum, reading, writing, and math scores improve.

J. Buchen Milley, A. Oderlund, and J. Mortarotti, "The Arts: An Essential Ingredient in Education," The California Council of the Fine Arts Deans.


The College Board identifies the arts as one of the six basic academic subject areas students should study in order to succeed in college.

Academic Preparation for College: What Students Should Know and be Able to Do, The College Board.


When researchers analyzed the NELS:88 database of the U.S. Department of education, which tracked 25,000 students over a ten-year period, they discovered that students who were involved in music scored higher on standardized tests and reading tests than students not taking music courses. This finding was consistent for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Dr. James Catterall, UCLA, 1997


School districts with strong arts education programs report that superintendents and school Principals who collectively support and regularly articulate a vision for arts education are critically important to the successful implementation and stability of district arts education policies.

Gaining the Arts Advantage, The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, 1999.


The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania School District analyzed its 1997 dropout rate in terms of students' musical experience. Students with no ensemble performance experience had a dropout rate of 7.4 percent. Students with one to two years of ensemble experience had a dropout rate of I percent, and those with three or more years of performance experience had a dropout rate of 0.0 percent.

Eleanor Chute, "Music and Art Lessons Do More Than Complement Three R's," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 13, 1998.


Two research projects have found that music training - specifically piano instruction can dramatically enhance children's spatial-temporal reasoning skills, the skills crucial for greater success in subjects like math and science.

Shaw, Grazianow, and Peterson, Neurological Research, March 1999.


School leaders affirm that the single most critical factor in sustaining arts education in their schools is the active involvement of influential segments of the community. These community members help shape and implement the policies and program of the district.

Gaining the Arts Advantage, The President's Council on the Arts and Humanities, 1999.


Students with band and orchestra experience attend college at a rate twice the national average.

Bands Across the USA.


Music students outperform non-music on achievement tests in reading and math. Skills such as reading, anticipating, memory, listening, forecasting, recall and concentration are developed in musical performance, and these skills are valuable to students in math, reading, and science.

B. Friedman, "An Evaluation of the Achievement in Reading and Arithmetic of Pupils in Elementary School Instrumental Music Classes," Dissertation Abstracts International.