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Keep Music Education in Our Schools

Stephanie has been playing piano since she was 5 years old and studied music at the University of Washington

Music Education is an Important Part of School Curriculum

In recent years, many school programs have been cut to reduce budgets and save money. Those hardest hit are physical education, art and music classes. The tragedy of these curriculum adjustments is that they rob children of the opportunity to learn through different mediums.

Elementary school music classes compliment and build on other skills children are learning in their regular classrooms. These include:

  • Math
  • Reading
  • Social interaction
  • Small motor skills
  • Large motor skills

Music is written in "measures," or small blocks of which there are a certain number of beats. If a song is in 3/4 time, that means there will be 3 beats per measure, with a quarter note counting as a single beat. Children can learn counting and fractions through musical instruction. These skills may make more sense, and will be more enjoyable for children when learned in this medium.

Improvement in reading can also result from music classes. Children learn not only how to read the words of a song that they will sing, but also to read notes and understand the connection between their placement of on the staff (treble or bass clef) and tonal variations. The ability to read music will be an advantage if your child is interested in choir, theatre and/or acting.

When creating tunes in a large group, children learn to take turns, listen for their cue, and respect personal property (the instruments). All of these social skills are important to overall development. As with any artistic expression, making music can help improve a child's self-esteem and build confidence. Developmentally or physically disabled kids generally respond very positively to such classes. Some studies show that it helps breathing and speech disabilities improve.

Both small and large motor skills are advanced through elementary school music instruction. Use of hands and fingers is necessary for playing a recorder, xylophone, drums, cymbals and other small percussive instruments. Often, the classes involve basic dancing instruction, foot stomping, and hand clapping. Who wouldn't have fun in an environment like that?

Music education may improve grades

Music education may improve grades

Music Education is Important

School music performances are positive experiences in a number of ways.

First, it gives the child an opportunity to display the work he or she is doing in class. Second, it can be a positive bonding experience between a child and his or her caregivers. Third, performances are usually festive and fun. Decorative art work, plus cookies and punch at the end, results in an afternoon or evening that will not soon be forgotten.

Self-expression through music allows creative outlets that some kids may not otherwise receive.

For families that cannot afford private lessons or other extracurricular activities, programs in public schools can help expand the horizons for these less fortunate children.

If your child's school district is considering budget cuts that will affect music instruction, get involved! Organize groups of parents that share your concerns. Write letters to the school district and superintendent about the myriad of benefits these classes have for young children. Offer to volunteer to help out, if you can. Spear-head some fundraising activities to help with shortfalls. Get in contact with your state legislators and fight hard to keep music in the schools. Don't give up or resign yourself to the loss of music education classes.

Elementary School Chorus Performance

Elementary School Concert

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2008 Stephanie Marshall

Comments? Share Your Positive Music Instruction Stories Below

DaisysJourney from Midwest, USA on August 07, 2014:

Music also KEEPS some kids coming to school. Through the years, I've had students on the cusp of dropping out who have come to school for their choir class, maintained good attendance so they wouldn't miss a rehearsal or an after school concert, and who maintained positive behavior because they knew they might be detained from participating in music. Music hooks those students.

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Music education is vital!!!

hi50 on July 18, 2013:

it is a sad day for our schools to leave out music and phy.ed..

Gabrielle on December 05, 2012:


While you raise an excellent question concerning why "regular" teachers couldn't take over teaching art and music, that statement carries the supposition that those individuals actually have the knowledge to be able "to teach" multiple courses. Many elementary teachers, especially, do not have the comprehensive course knowledge necessary to function efficiently in that capacity. Your elementary school teacher obviously did possess the tacit understanding of those disciplines; however, twenty five years is, in fact, a -very- long time in so far as the educational system is concerned, particularly when considering the fact that the 80s and 90s were the critical years of the transition from hands-on education to cyber-dispensed information. Our system has changed, drastically - teaching degree programs are in general no longer encouraged toward a broad base spectrum, they become more individualized by the day. Furthermore, I would argue that it is very possible to keep these programs in schools, even with our current economy - we simply need to consider transitioning to a music theory based curriculum in elementary levels and consider toning down the performance aspects; performance is much more expensive to fund than theory, and is even less efficient at developing the critically minded approach. I do appreciate your comments, truly, but, since I possess a rather snarky sense of humor myself, I must add in conclusion - your last sentence compares two fundamentally un-comparable facets of instruction: grammar can no more be taught by math or cognitive science, it may only be taught by a grammar course. Does this mean we should cut math and science? Music, however, does provide logical, rhetorical, and semantic exposure that greatly enhances one's ability to cognize on the linguistic level. Please see Leonard Bernstein's Harvard lecture series "The Unanswered Question" for a fantastic correlation between the musical process and Noam Chomsky's principles of "transformational grammar." In all sincerity, though, thank you for your interest in this page.

- A college kid.

Maddy on March 07, 2012:

Why can't regular teachers in elementary schools take over teaching of art, music and PE until funding becomes available to hire those who specialize in teaching those? That would be a better solution that actually cutting those programs. When I was growing up, we only had one teacher for the whole 5 years of elementary school teaching us all those subjects along with math, grammar etc. This lady had 40 kids in her class! We have received excellent education. I've lived in a couple of different countries after that and was always placed in a higher grade. Just something to think about and no, this wasn't 60 years ago. Only 25 yrs. ago. I'm not saying we should give up and not try to keep these programs but looking at the current economy I seriously doubt that anything can be done.Our school district has already cut these programs. Also, I'm not trying to be snarky (well maybe a little), but I don't think music and art are helping our kids learn better that much, if the grammar above in those couple of college kids posts is any indication.

Tabitha on March 06, 2012:

thanks for posting this info online. i'm using this info(in quotes of course) in my letter to the board of edu to keep chorus in high schools

kristin on December 12, 2011:

thank you for giving me this inspiration, i used this for an example in my speech at my school, so thank you!:)

..... on December 12, 2011:

i never new music could help in so many ways

jazz on November 16, 2011:

hello, im a freshman in college preparing to give a ten muinute speech on why we should keep music in schools. I decided to do the speech on the topic because music is my dearest passion. Iv been a musician for 9 years and I absolutely love it. Thank you, your opinion on the issue will be much help. :]

sarah sims, ok on November 16, 2011:

im writitng a persuasive essay for my senior paper and its over why we should keep music education in schools. this really helped me and i thank you for standing up for music kids like me :)

Jesús on November 15, 2011:

"Share Your Positive Music Instruction Stories Below"

OK. In Madrid (Spain), just in front of th Opera House and in front of the Royal Palace as well, 150 music teachers and students played this concert to ask to the Government not to make more cuts in public music schools.

It was a pleasure to be in such a wonderfull place earing this wonderfull performance:

1st part:

2nd part:

Shea C. on October 18, 2011:

It is terrible we cut funding on music class, and increase spending on computers and technology. Lets stay with the basics for the children!

brennawelker on June 06, 2011:

Yes, I always agree. Music should always be a part in education. Great hub.

Alice Espana on June 04, 2011:

i have been homeschooling my daughter for some time now. she has a very great affection for music, if i may say.

Music really has something so deep that we cant easily neglect. music, in its own way teaches us things that seemed to be unteachable.

thanks much for this hub.

Kelli on March 22, 2011:

Whether you like Mike Huckabee or not, he makes a lot of sense on this video explaining why we should keep music in the schools. I agree with everything he says! Please click on the link and listen to what he has to say about the topic:

Theodore on February 05, 2011:

Me too! I'm a kid, and I love physical education classes!!!!!!!! This homepage is cool!!!!!!!!!!*^^*

Maggie on December 21, 2010:

I'm a kid my self and i know how imporant music it is to me it helps me throught alot of things!

Aimee on November 22, 2010:

I think that schools should have music classes because when I was in the 7th grade in 2009 I had to do a report for music class on any 2 famous singers that I liked I did Marilyn Manson and Ozzy Osbourne because they are my favorite singers, and after I got infront of the whole class and read to them what I said in my reprt on Marilyn Manson and Ozzy Osbourne the teacher thought I did a very good job doing my report and reading it to the class the teacher after class took the time to say to the class that we would be learning about singers that I like and NOT any of those teen singers and I thought that was very nice of the teacher to say that and from than on we were taught about the music I think all kids should listen to through out their childhood and we did and I was like yes we are NOT learning about Miley Cyrus or any of those teen singers we are learning real music you could NOT get me to stop smiling for days I was just so happy for my music teacher taking the time to teach the class about my kind of music.

Stella on November 22, 2010:

I'm using this article to help me write my essay on musical education and how it is important. It really helped! so thaks for writing this!

YESnack on November 16, 2010:

I remember singing in the choir as a child. I sang very badly but they never kicked me out. I bless their hearts and pity their ears. Violin played a major role in my life. Although I do not play, it was a great experience to deepen my cultural outlook on life. Until I graduated college I had an odd extreme music collection of only classical or rap.

RickM on November 10, 2010:

Great read. I am currently a senior music ed major at the University of Central Missouri. It is nice to see that people are still reading this and that they still care very deeply about the matter after 2 years! It is sad to see so many small school music programs around here going down the drain because of a lack of funding. Sports are very important, but we already have PE classes. Makes me wanna write to the superintendent- "football team hasn't won a game in 3 years...but you give them money over the music program?" Kind of infuriating to people who care. I fear the downfall of the arts in the near future. Thanks for the article!

ANN L. on November 09, 2010:

very useful. Thank you , Steph, I believe that is gonna work in every school one day. Though, for now, it's a pity that management who are actually far from the actual educational process, lack understanding of this matters.

Brianna Whalen on November 08, 2010:

I honestly think that music is one of the most important subjects in schools. It's really an all in one class that teaches you social skills, math skills, reading, foreign language, teamwork, focus, consistency and commitment. I should know, I started playing violin in 5th grade and know I'm a Senior in high school writing my Senior Paper on musical education in public schools and I couldn't be more excited to go back to where I started and teach these kids about what a great thing music is and what it has to offer. Great post and I will definitely be work citing this for my paper. Thanks so much!

GPA Calculator on October 28, 2010:

This is a wonderful read. Creativity will suffer without music

scholarshipsformo from California on October 13, 2010:

I totally agree with this

Spelling Games for Kids on September 04, 2010:

Great Point Here. In Florida they want to mandate x hours of physical education in a day. This will in essence kill arts programs. In trying to do good they do bad. Personally both my kids play classical piano. I play guitar. I think it promotes thought, I know many surgeon's who play wonderfully. Great Hub.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on July 28, 2010:

Belliott - Here in Central Oregon, they have cut 5 days off the school year due to the budget. Music, PE and art are all suffering. I am actually going to start teaching piano lessons for my children this year and will offer discount classes for other kids. Sad, isn't it?

belliott on July 28, 2010:

This hub was written 2 years ago. It would be interesting to see the statistics on how many music classes in schools across the US have been cut due to budget issues over the past 2 years. With the way the economy is now I bet music, physical education, art classes have been cut even more severely than would have been thought 2 years ago. It is sad but I don't know what can realistically be done about it.

john chartrand on June 30, 2010:

It's sad to see so many elementary schools canceling music programs for core subjects. Classroom teachers are often responsible for teaching music along with other specialty subjects that they know little about or even have an interest.

LorieLang on March 27, 2010:

One acknowledges that modern life seems to be not very cheap, however some people require money for different things and not every person gets enough cash. Therefore to get quick business loans and just car loan should be a right way out.

Free Ringtone on February 22, 2010:

Nice Hub!!! Thanks for sharing.

martycraigs on January 28, 2010:

Music education is absolutely crucial. I must say I represent the unyielding, supportive opinion when it comes to this topic. Music (and other arts in general) can make school exciting, augment learning, and provide a fantastic outlet of children to grow and explore. There's the very social aspect of many music/arts activities, also.

Thanks for posting about this topic.

pianomusicteacher on January 20, 2010:

I really like the article you wrote, Steph.

Music is the basic, and I guess-the most crucial step toward learning other field such as Science and Math. It's the fundamental of everything coz it's inherent in the environment.

FredrickBernanke on October 16, 2009:

I just published a Hub about what one woman has done here in the San Diego area regarding children, music, education and performance.

It's an amazing and TRUE story, IMHO.

Pamela on October 13, 2009:

Music definitely helps improve student's overall performance in other academic subjects as well as life.

Kids Music on October 13, 2009:

Interesting Post!

glassvisage from Northern California on October 07, 2009:

I wholeheartedly agree. Music has so much depth to it, so many educational dimensions. It is a type of learning, after all. I remember how invested I was in music, and by the 10th grade, I had to choose another pasttime because it was cut from the school budget. I still wonder how much further I would have gone with my instruments if my public school continued to offer instruction.

gbychan on June 11, 2009:

A comment from one musician's point of view (which, of course, probably is very different from others'): Music education has shown to have wonderful effects on students' learning, etc. However, I'd point out that there's a potential problem using kids who get professional training as evidence that music should return to the classroom. If strong, well-trained musicians teach in the school system (as they do privately and in music schools), then there's likely to be a positive effect on the children. But if music is just going to be an addition to the standard Reading-'Riting-'Rithmatic curriculum to be taught by teachers who don't have a strong musical background, I fear that the expected benefits will never materialize.

Angela Felabom on April 29, 2009:


I enjoyed reading your article. As a music educator I always look for articles in support of the arts education. I am currently doing research in regards to the utilization of music in the K-3 classroom. In part of my introduction I am going to include your statement as to how school music classes compliment and build on other skills children learn in the regular classroom. i and need to ask when did you write this article. I

ryan0257 from Sydney, Australia on March 14, 2009:

I totally agree with this hub, music and all art can not be ignored in education. There is so much emphasis of literary and logical thinking (English and maths) that schools ignore vital aspects of creativity, which is essential for problem solving, critical thinking skills and higher order thinking which all relate directly to Maths and English yet have their roots in Arts and science. Great hub and continue to promote music in education as I will. Just on a side not, music and art formed through history and across many cultures thus formed us as human beings. It came before literacy and helped form the structures of literacy. It is vital for all children to learn and they have fun learing it ^^.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on March 10, 2009:

Hi Pauia, I love reading enthusiastic responses like yours! As a former musician myself, I can attest to its strong influence on me growing up. All my kids love to sing and dance.

Thanks for the wonderful comment, Steph

Paula Andrea, MA from www.mode of cosmic on March 10, 2009:

Absolutely, right on! This hub is so vitally needed and well-received. There is nothing like music that inpires children to "want to learn". They naturally gravitate to its instictive rhythm. Without music in the education program, our children will suffer immeasurably. I couldn't agree with you more on how important it is to provide kids with the opportunity to be exposed and involved with music. Thank you so much for publishing this wonderfully rich and inspiring hub.

Harlem6 from Worcester, MA on February 24, 2009:

I am a result of a lacking music program. Picked up a tenor saxphone when I was 13 by myself. Taking some music classes in college to learn, but had no roots. I support you in you rmovement to better music education in schools. Thank you for the article.

Britneys Fan Club on February 12, 2009:

Hi there , yes every body needs to know how music can stimulate a persons mood

experiments with unborn children show if the mother is listening to classic music

like vivaldi or mozart to mame a few the children coming more relaxed and peacful into this world this is how music will effect a persons mood and his soul :))

anyway juz wanna tell this is a nice hub

pls come by and visit myn as well thnx

c ya greetz

shangmelissa on February 03, 2009:

To see a child advance in wisdom is not equivalent to seeing him get high grades in school. The measure of wisdom is not the child’s ability to answer quizzes and test questions. Wisdom lies in the child’s ability to absorb the tool taught to him and then apply these in real life.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 02, 2008:

Thank you midnightbliss - I am actually thinking about starting a piano teaching school (I played for many years and studied at the University) just to keep kids going with music education. :)

Haydee Anderson from Hermosa Beach on December 02, 2008:

excellent hub, music is really important to be included in the curriculum, it plays an important role with the development of the students.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 01, 2008:

Hi Courtney- thanks for the great comment! Obviouly, I totally agree with your thoughts! Spread this hub around - email it to other and perhaps we can change things just a bit.

Cheers, Stephanie

Courtney on December 01, 2008:

i think this is absolutly brilliant!!! i am a great believer in music education and aspire to be a teacher myself. i just wish those idiots on the BOE could read all of this and just reolize how important this is to child development.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on November 23, 2008:

Hi RGraf, yes - we are lucky too that music education is still my kids' schools. But one worries about budget cuts and what they may mean, particularly in these economic times.

Rebecca Graf from Wisconsin on November 23, 2008:

We are very fortunant to have a school system where we live that still enforces the arts. It is so sad that the arts are the first ones to suffer. Thank you for writing on this.

Bobey from Modesto' CA on October 10, 2008:

I think it is a good idea for all kids it will help them focuss on some stuff but again it is good for kids.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on June 21, 2008:

Thank you so much for your comment, Shadesbreath! It is indeed a tragedy that we may not even know what we are losing before it is gone. How many parents cannot afford to send their kids to private music lessons, yet they blossom and find their talent in the public school system? You are so right that PE could be next, and probably is well on its way. I am poised and ready as soon as I hear the rumblings in my neighborhood, or even in my homestate. We cannot stand by and allow this to happen.

Shadesbreath from California on June 21, 2008:

Frankly, the loss of music programs is a tragedy and we haven't even begun to feel how much. I fear that lots of little Mozarts and John Lenin's aren't even going to be exposed to music when their little brains are still forming and ripe to really be grounded well. No Child Gets Ahead... er... No Child Left Behind is making the horizons of our children very, very small.

PHysical ed is next. My kids actually spend so much time doing writing exercise in their PE class it drives me nuts. IT's to help increase test scores, I get it, keep cramming reading and writing down their throats every period so the school can get paid, but, wow.

Anyway, awesome hub and I hope everyone in America reads this and writes their Congressional reps to do something before we have nothing but oldies on the radio.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on June 21, 2008:

Ripplemaker and Dayzeebee - thank you so much for your comments! I know that the performing arts are very important to both of you! I was a musician growing up and I can't agree more! In fact, I witnessed my children in vacation bible school last summer put together and perform in a musical in one week's time and they were SO EXCITED!! It truly was heart-warming to see. Music is a vital part of education and I hope that our educators remember that!

dayzeebee from Cebu, Philippines on June 21, 2008:

the performing arts can do wonders for kids and it's great to have you on our side! thank you for encouraging people to make a stand.

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on June 21, 2008:

I know and have experienced the value of music and arts in my life. They have taught me and molded my character and brought out the best in me. In our preschool, we truly incoporate arts and music all over the program. And the kids love it. :)

excellasys on March 06, 2008:

Great Point Here. In Florida they want to mandate x hours of physical education in a day. This will in essence kill arts programs. In trying to do good they do bad. Personally both my kids play classical piano. I play guitar. I think it promotes thought, I know many surgeon's who play wonderfully. Great Hub.

seamus on March 06, 2008:

Thank you for this hub. No Child Left Behind gets me down, so it's great to see people care about the arts being taught in school.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on March 06, 2008:

PenmanZee, of course! How wonderful you met your wife through band! I played the clarinet (though not so well). Piano was my passion. Thanks for reading and your kind comments, as always.

PenmanZee on March 05, 2008:

Boy, I can hardly keep up with you Steph. Your hub about the obsolescence of the film camera made me both yearn for the good old days at the same time appreciate today's technological advances.

I totally agree with you about music and feel sad about the cutting out of such programs in school as a beneficiary of an American music teacher. I learned to play the trumpet in school and band was one of my favorite activities. And that's how I met my wife. See?!!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on March 05, 2008:

Thanks Amy Jane - I completely agree! I think some children really need this outlet (actually all do, but some more than others!)

amy jane from Connecticut on March 05, 2008:

Terrific hub, Steph! Music and the arts are so important, they give children the opportunity to express themselves. Some children excel in the creative arts and not in the academic area. They need that opportunity. :)

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on March 05, 2008:

Thank you, Patty!

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 05, 2008:


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