Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Chicken or Egg
I read about more students that earned perfect scores on their ACTs. 'John Smith' is an intelligent young man, on the chess and robotics team, hopes to study this and this in college, has played cello for six year. Or 'Jane Downy', a star student in physics, Spanish and Latin, has played piano for more than ten years and the French horn for six years.
There is much to congratulate here, but I can't resist the opportunity to note the musical involvement. I love the idea that kids who play an instrument are smarter. You can't prove it however. So are "smart" kids drawn to music, or does music stimulate the child's brain?
I am convinced that children who participate in music are more likely to reach their full potential, academically and in life. Studies prove the "Mozart Effect" and music teachers love to hand out copies of these results to prospective students. No matter what, music can boost self confidence, self esteem and be the stress relief from a busy world. It can help turn an average kid like I was into a person who wants to aspire to bigger and better things.
Colleges look for a full description of extracurricular activities in the application process. I like to believe music is a very defined way that students can be set apart from the rest because of the diligence, dedication, and determination to set goals, practice and put yourself in front of people in performance.
I want to keep this in mind as we consider how much we're willing to spend on public education. I agonize over the students who are not tasting the sweet waters of music, due to budget restraints. Perhaps you have influence and a voice in your area of the world to keep music a part of the curriculum. It will ultimately benefit us all.
(It's an early post today-I'm going out to a Theology on Tap event tonight. I'll write about that tomorrow...)