“You can ask anyone on the street if they love music and nearly 100% of the people who respond will say they like music. You can’t get this kind of response with anything else.” – Conductor Elton Masaki
As we wrap up a great summer of music making, we took some time to remember why we felt so strongly about creating Pacific Music Institute summer camp in the first place. There are so many benefits to learning music in a fun and inspiring setting. So let’s dig in!
What are the benefits of music education?
- Music education trains vital parts of the brain, improving memory, motor skills, and cognitive function, leading to higher grades in school and greater success in life.
- Music education helps kids develop life skills, like discipline, teamwork, self-expression, and social skills.
- Music education helps level the playing field.
- Music education has been proven to have a positive impact on brain development. Kids who learn music improve their memory, language-learning skills, motor skills, and more. An extensive study found that music improves cognitive and non-cognitive skills more than twice as much as sports, theater or dance. Another study found that students who studied music from elementary school through high school score significantly higher on exams, and were, on average, an entire academic year ahead of their non-music peers.
- Music education has also been shown to help kids focus their attention, control their emotions and diminish their anxiety. It develops their creative skills, social skills, and study habits. Music shows us that when you work with others, practice often, and persevere when challenged, the results are rewarding. Music students are more ambitious, more determined and better at teamwork than non-music students.
“Music allows us to be human, to care about others, to care about doing well, and to express ourselves in a unique way.” – HYS and PMI conductor Wayne Fanning
- Children who learn music reap these benefits regardless of socio-economic status and other factors. The results of these studies were consistent across students of different demographic backgrounds. Kids who studied music were found to have higher grades, and grow up to be more conscientious, open and ambitious REGARDLESS of ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender, and prior learning in math and English. Music education is an important way to enrich your child’s learning, leading to success in school and joy in life.
How to advocate for music education
We believe that music education should be accessible to all children. It is too often the first program to be cut under budget restraints, and too often considered an elective, and not part of a core curriculum.
You can advocate for music education in two major ways:
- Advocate for change in public education
- Support a local music organization
“Music Education is important to broaden [keiki’s] horizons and show them how the different genres of music are connected so they can appreciate and understand a wider spectrum of music. I firmly believe we can have a stronger music community with a thriving symphony if we just had better music education in Hawaii.” – Elton Masaki
“Music is a necessary component of a well-rounded education, as well as a healthy and happy individual. It is a basic need alongside food, shelter, and love.” – Conductor Wayne Fanning
- One way you can advocate for music education is to sign the Petition for Equal Access to Music Education, which advocates for better music education resources on a national level. You can also email or send a letter to your local representatives and senators, requesting that they prioritize music education in your state or locality.
- Another great way to help your local community is to support a local music education program. Hawaii Youth Symphony is Hawaii’s only non-profit music education organization, with the vision of making music a right, not a privilege. They fill in gaps in public education by providing access to incredible music educators, low-cost programs, instruments, and financial aid for students across the islands. You can support your local music education organization by donating, volunteering, or spreading the word.