Music's Impact: Elementary to High School
from "Music Advocacy Action Kit," provided
by The Selmer Company for School Reform sessions
presented by Tim Lautzenheiser and Michael Kumer at
the 1999 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago
* Singing sight words to kindergarten children helped
them to learn the words much faster than those children
learning the words without the teacher singing them.
- Sharlene Habermeyer, "Good Music, Brighter Children."
(California: Prima Publishing, 1999), 131.
* A 1981 study by Minicucci showed that kindergarten
students' basic skills achievement scores increased when
music was added to the curriculum.
- Jeanne Akin, "Music Makes a Difference." (Lafayette,
California: Lafayette Arts and Science Foundation, 1987).
* Studying music strengthens students' academic
performance. Studies have indicated that sequential,
skill-building instruction in art and music integrated with
the rest of the curriculum can greatly improve children's
performance in reading and math.
- Martin Gardiner, Alan Fox, Faith Knowles, and Donna
Jeffrey, "Learning Improved by Arts Training," Nature,
May 23, 1996.
* A study conducted in 1982 by Delehanty found that first
graders learn to read and write within a few weeks when
learning lessons to music.
- Sharlene Habermeyer, "Good Music, Brighter Children."
(California: Prima Publishing, 1999), 135.
* A 1984 study by Mueller found that physical, mental,
emotional, and social development is faster when students
learn a musical instrument.
- Jeanne Akin, "Music Makes a Difference." (Lafayette,
California: Lafayette Arts and Science Foundation, 1987).
* In 1998, scientists explored how a newly designed
computer math game coupled with either piano lessons or
English-training affected second-grade students'
performance in math. After four months, the students
who had piano keyboarding along with the computer game
did 27 percent better on questions devoted to fractions
and proportional math than those students who received
the language training with the computer game.
- Amy Graziano, Matthew Peterson, and Gordon Shaw,
"Enhanced Learning of Proportional Math Through Music
Training and Spatial-Temporal Training." Neurological
Research, vol. 21, no. 2, March 1999.
* Researchers have proved that music training is a
powerful tool for increasing spatial-temporal reasoning
skills, the skills crucial for greater success in subjects like
math and science.
* When handicapped children in the Clover Park School
District in Tacoma, Washington, were taught basic
academic skills through music, they were consistently
able to learn more easily. Music helped in teaching them
perceptual skills, according to researchers Appell and
- Jeanne Akin, "Music Makes a Difference." (Lafayette,
California: Lafayette Arts and Science Foundation, 1987).
* A two-year Swiss study involving 1,200 children in 50
schools showed that students involved in the music
program were better at languages, learned to read more
easily, showed an improved social climate, showed more
enjoyment in school, and had a lower level of stress than
non-music students.
- E.W. Weber, M. Spychiger, & J.L. Patry, 1993.
* Dr. Lassar Golkin brought music games into schools to
help teach academic skills. Children who were unable to
learn in a traditional school setting were able to learn the
skills set to musical games.
- Sharlene Habermeyer, "Good Music, Brighter Children."
(California: Prima Publishing, 1999), 151.
* A 1985 study by Edward Kvet showed that student
absence from class to study a musical instrument does not
result in lower academic achievement. He found no
academic achievement difference between sixth grade
students who were excused from class for instrumental
study and those who were not, matching variables of sex,
race, IQ, cumulative achievement, school attended, and
classroom teacher.
- Spin-Offs: The Extra-Musical Advantage of a Musical
Education, Cutietta, Hamann, and Walker (Elkhart,
Indiana: United Musical Instruments U.S.A., Inc., 1995).
* Studies have found that elementary students who
received daily music instruction had fewer absences than
other students.
- B.S. Hood III, "The Effect of Daily Instruction in Public
School Music and Related Experiences upon Non-musical
Personal and School Attitudes of Average Achieving
Third-Grade Students" (doctoral dissertation, Mississippi
State University)
* There is a very high correlation between positive self-
perception, high cognitive competence scores, healthy
self-esteem, total interest and school involvement, and
the study of music.
- O.F. Lillemyr, "Achievement Motivation as a Factor in
Self-Perception," Norwegian Research Council for Science
and the Humanities
* Upon integration of the arts into major subjects in
fourteen New York elementary and secondary public
schools, student behavior improved strikingly in such
areas as taking risks, cooperating, solving problems, taking
initiative for learning, and being prepared. Content-related
achievement also rose.
- Dee Dickinson, "Learning Through the Arts." (Seattle:
New Horizons for Learning, 1997).
* The U.S. Department of Education lists the arts as
subjects that college-bound middle and junior high school
students should take, stating, "Many colleges view
participation in the arts and music as a valuable experience
that broadens students' understanding and appreciation of
the world around them. It is also well known and widely
recognized the arts contribute significantly to children's
intellectual development."
- "Getting Ready for College Early: A Handbook for Parents
of Students in the Middle and Junior High School Years,"
U.S. Department of Education, 1997.
* Music can make a difference for young people from low
socioeconomic status (SES). A 1998 research study found
that low SES students who took music lessons from 8th
through 12th grade increased their test scores in math and
scored significantly higher than those of low SES students
who were not involved in music. Math scores more than
doubled, and history and geography scores climbed by 40
- James Catterall, Richard Chapleau, and John Iwanga.
Involvement in the Arts and Human Development:
Extending an Analysis of General Associations and
Introducing the Special Cases of Intensive Involvement
in Music and in Theater Arts. Monograph Series No. 11,
(Washington, D.C.: Americans for the Arts, Fall 1999).
* An analysis of the U.S. Department of Education
NELS:88 database of over 25,000 students followed over a
ten-year period found that a higher percentage of students
who were involved in music scored higher on
standardized tests, reading and reading proficiency exams
that those students who were not involved in music
programs, regardless of their socioeconomic background.
- Dr. James Catterall, UCLA, 1997.
* Students with coursework/experience in music
performance scored 53 points higher on the verbal portion
of the SAT and 39 points higher on the math portion than
students with no coursework or experience in the arts
for a combined total of 92 points higher.
- Profiles of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, The
College Board, 1999.
* Courses in music, as well as in art and drama, positively
influenced the decisions of high school students not to
drop out of school.
- N. Barry, J. Taylor, & K. Walls, "The Role of the Fine and
Performing Arts in High School Dropout Prevention"
(Tallahassee, Florida: Center for Music Research, Florida
State University, 1990).
* 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 A's,
A's/B's, and B's was higher than the percentage of non-
participants receiving those grades.
- NELS:88 First Follow-Up, 1990, National Center for
Education Statistics, Washington, DC.
* The College Board identifies the arts (including music)
as one of the six basic academic subject areas students
should study in order to succeed in college. "Preparation
in the arts will be valuable to college entrants whatever
their intended field of study."
- Academic Preparation for College: What Students Need
to Know and Be Able to Do, 1983 [still in use], The College
Board, New York.
* Longer arts study means higher SAT scores. For
example, students participating in the arts for two years
averaged 29 points higher on the verbal portion and 19
points higher on the math portion of the SAT than
students with no coursework or experience in the arts.
Students with four or more years in the arts scored 61
points higher and 45 points higher on the verbal and math
portions respectively than students with no arts coursework.
- Profiles of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, The
College Board, 1999.
* Admissions officers at 70 percent of the nation's major
universities have stated that high school credit and
achievement in the arts are significant considerations for
admission to their institutions.

For Source information, return to Why Music? Links and Info Page

To Music Education Links

Return to Main Menu