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Benefit Two: Success in School

“The Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC) Project: A Ten Year Evaluation” comparing ABC schools and non-arts schools in South Carolina. The ABC schools had higher attendance, fewer discipline referrals, more parent involvement and school approval and high teacher morale. The arts changed the entire school ecology.

Complex math processes are more accessible to students who have studied music because the same parts of the brain used in processing math are strengthened through practice in music. For example, students who take music in middle school score significantly higher on algebra assessments in ninth grade than their non-music counterparts, as their brains are already accustomed to performing the processes used in complex math (Helmrich, 2010).

“Music is an extremely rich kind of experience in the sense that it requires cognition, it requires emotion, it requires aesthetics, it develops performance skills, individual capabilities. These things have to be developed and all have to be synchronized and integrated so that, as a person learns music, they stretch themselves mentally in a variety of ways. What we are finding is that the kind of mental stretching that takes place can be of value more generally, that is, to help children in learning other things. And these other things, in turn, can help them in the learning of music, so that there is a dialogue between the different kinds of learning.” – from the Music in Education National Consortium, Journal for Learning through Music, Second Issue, Summer 2003, “What Makes Music Work for Public Education?”

Dr. James Catterall of UCLA has analyzed the school records of 25,000 students as they moved from grade 8 to grade 10. He found that students who studied music and the arts had higher grades, scored better on standardized tests, had better attendance records and were more active in community affairs than other students. He also found that students from poorer families who studied the arts improved overall school performance more rapidly than all other students. From Catterall, UCLA, Fall 1997

Studies of the effects of arts instruction on learning have found that children who study the arts are:  • four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement; • elected to class office within their schools three times as often; • four times more likely to participate in a math and science fair; • three times more likely to win an award for school attendance; and •four times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem. "Living the Arts Through Language + Learning: A Report on Community-Based Youth Organizations," Shirley Brice Heath. Americans for the Arts, November 1998

Researchers found that students who report consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show "significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12.” (Catteral, Chapleau and Iwanaga, 1999)

Students of music continue to outperform their non-arts peers on the SAT, according to reports by the College Entrance Examination Board. In 2006, SAT takers with coursework/experience in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and 43 points higher on her math portion than students with no coursework or experience in the arts. Scores for those with coursework in music appreciation were 62 points higher on the verbal and 41 points higher on the math portion— The College Board, Profile of College-Bound Seniors National Report for 2006

Students in high quality school music programs across the country scored 22% better in English and 20% better in math than students in deficient music programs. Students in lower quality instrument programs scored higher in English and Math than student s with no music education at all. Christopher M. Johnson and Jerry E. Memmott, Journal of Research in Music Education, 2006.

Data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 showed that music participants received more academic honors and awards than non-music students, and that the percentage of music participants receiving As, As/Bs, and Bs was higher than the percentage of non- participants receiving those grades.
NELS:88 First Follow-up, 1990, National Center for Education Statistics, Washington DC