The value of music education has been emphasized by public schools, private institutions, and non-profit organizations. While there are still many schools offering music education, others have faced budget cuts that threaten to end these programs.
The majority of public schools have a mandate regarding arts education, but less than 50 percent have an arts requirement for high school graduation. This despite the fact that it has been proven students who participate in music education in school are less likely to drop out than those who do not.
Overwhelming research confirms that these benefits could be partially due to the fact that music improves brain function. This benefit can increase the cognitive skills necessary to perform well on standardized testing and other indicators of educational aptitude.
For students who have a deep interest in music and the performing arts, the thought of attending an arts-focused school can seem appealing. Find out about the benefits of a performing arts school and how they may help further your child’s music education in ways not typically utilized in conventional schools.
Benefits of an Arts-centered Education
There are a variety of benefits connected with an arts-based education. Aside from helping children perform better in all academic subjects, music can help refocus the attention of those who have struggled academically. Once children are actively engaged in music programs, their attendance rates typically improve and they become more interested in school in general.
An arts-focused education also can also help students have successful interpersonal interactions and improve their problem-solving abilities. In addition to the information that is taught in a standard educational environment, students who attend a performing arts school are tasked with self-discovery and thinking from a creative perspective to come to their own conclusions.
Studies of fine art schools reveal that they have a particularly positive impact on students of lower socioeconomic status. Additionally, those who participated in music programs scored much higher in math than those who did not. These same students had even more impressive scores by the time they reached their senior year of high school.
Participation in an arts-based curriculum has been shown to improve students’ abilities in math, critical thinking, and verbal skills. Additionally, concentration, teamwork, and confidence may also improve once a child attends a performing arts school.
Students who have struggled academically in the past can also benefit greatly from attending a performing arts school. Often times, underperforming academically is not necessarily an indicator of ability. Rather, it is due to other factors such as social anxiety or personal problems within the home.
Administrators at performing arts schools have noticed that many children who previously struggled academically improve their performance significantly in arts-based schools. Attending musical preforming arts school gives children a chance to be creative and take personal ownership in the educational process.
Successful Arts Schools
The United States is home to many successful performing arts institutions, and many of them have received national recognition. For example, in Dallas, Texas, educators have tirelessly worked to bring music education to all schools.
Even at the elementary level, Texas students receive nearly 45 minutes per week of art and music education. Dallas is home to more than 60 local arts institutions that have joined together in order to form the Dallas Arts Learning Initiative, which focuses on creativity-driven learning.
Similarly, in Arizona, the superintendent of public instruction made it a goal to bring broad arts education to the state’s K-12 students. The former superintendent, Tom Horne, is an accomplished pianist who understands the value of music in terms of education.
Informed by his own experience, Horne appointed a specialist for the state Department of Education. This specialist helped facilitate the receipt of $4 million in federal funds to support arts in schools.
Belmont public schools, located in Massachusetts, has received national recognition for its superior K-12 music program. Every year, student musicians are recognized and awarded for their performing arts achievements at the local, state, and national levels. As evidence of its excellence, Belmont has been named one of the best communities for education by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM).
While it is true that the arts cannot solve each and every problem, their benefits have been well-documented. As a result, it is important to continue the push for arts education in schools.
When deciding if an arts-based education is right for your child, it’s important to do the necessary research to understand exactly how your child may benefit. If your child is seemingly struggling in a traditional academic environment, but he or she has a passion for music or performing arts in general, choosing a dedicated performing arts school may be the right choice.