Recognizing the Benefits and Importance of School-Based Music Education

By:  Stephanie Tubbs Jones
Date: April 4, 2006
Location: Washington, DC



Mrs. JONES of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H. Con. Res. 355, recognizing the importance of school based music education. In today's climate of high stakes testing, it's important to recognize that skills learned through studying music translate to skills that help students succeed in life.

Empirical data suggest that music students perform higher than their counterparts on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, and also demonstrate higher math skills. Studies also show that students who participate in a band or orchestra show the lowest lifetime use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs. Students that participate in music classes are less likely to be disruptive students in class. Among minority students, more identify their music teachers as role models than any other subject area. These students demonstrate higher self-esteem and thinking skills than their counterparts.

As a parent, I know that students who learn to think critically, perform analysis, and express themselves through written and verbal communication have a greater chance at success in life. Within a larger context, music is an essential cultural thread. How many people, whether listening to the O'Jay's, Bon Jovi, or Jill Scott, know that the term ``Rock and Roll'' is African American slang dating back to the early 20th Century? But music, whether rock and roll, classical, or jazz has come to mean much more. Within my district, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Cleveland Institute of Music provide music history and distance learning programs for many schools that haven't been able to afford their own music education teachers. The usefulness of these music programs underscores the importance of filling student needs at a time when our society needs better teaching methods and a greater understanding of diversity, not less.

Educators with whom I meet, often express frustration that compressed school schedules and the focus on high stakes testing are failing to help our children develop the critical thinking skills needed to compete in an increasingly complex world. Music education aids critical thinking and more. I believe it imperative that we recognize its importance in the lives of our children, and strive to make school based music education available to all of America's youth.


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