Music in schools
The movement of music into a schools starts in the progressive era, when people realized that music could be used as a tool to promote social reform within the poorer classes-and could be used to change the economic status of the country as a whole-where the purpose of music became transformed. Instead of the original purpose as a representation of people with power and a form of their entertainment, music became a tool to help social, political, and economic reform and reflected the ideas behind the turn of the century’s Progressive movement. By this, caused a new-found indication on musical education which formed the “common schooling” era, where offerings of music activity-listening lessons, instrumental performing groups, musical history and theory-were extracurricular at first. But, evolved into a curricular subjects, by this, a shift in the discussion and the overall idea of the purpose of education within thee American society. This shift helps see a greater gratitude for an artistic ability on a higher level, but also showed a notion that democracy depended on universal education for all children in elementary to high school.
Though some people would look at music as a small part of the progression of humanity, it is a greater force than most think; for some, it defines existence. The main reason, music is a driving force in society which moves to the schools; it has been present since the dawn of man. Many person spends several hours a day listening to music, whether they see it as a main activity or just as something to take up space in the background. It is not surprising, when music has a great effect on how humans think and act, possibly even change how intelligent they are.
As a background activity, listening to music has been shown to positively affect mood, productivity, and including intelligence of the humans mind. Whether it is merely a distraction from the stress of a situation like homework or genuinely lifts the mood of the listener, music has been shown in several studies to increase productivity in this manner. In both cases, the listener often finishes the activity in a shorter period of time and with less residual stress. If implemented into the classroom, this effect could improve test scores nationwide and increase productivity of the working class. Besides improving mood, listening to music has even been shown to encourage intellectual growth, particularly among children. It has been widely observed that “children, teens, and even babies potentially benefit from listening to music, as music can be a stimulant to intellectual and cognitive development” (“Psychology of Music”). It is a possibility that this intellectual growth may sprout from the extra motivation that music grants, providing room for further exploration and growth. Students that receive music instruction have better memory recall, which helps in academic areas such as test scores. A 2007 study by Christopher Johnson showed that regardless of socioeconomic levels, schools that had successful music programs outperformed schools with low-quality music programs or no programs, with 22 percent higher scores in English and 20 percent higher scores in math. Also in 1997 study by Phi Delta Kappan showed that math test scores increased proportional to the amount of time spent in arts education. However, these effects would be minimal in the average listener. Whatever the actual causes of this effect, it seems that a more productive and intelligent society may develop within a musical environment.
Though the effects of merely listening to music are somewhat significant, the effects of musical education are even greater. Many people that have done studies agree that with music lessons, because there are so many different facets involved, such as memorizing, expressing emotion, and learning about musical interval and chords, the multidimensional nature of the experience may be motivating to the IQ effect. A child taking music lessons greatly improves their comprehension of proportional math, which is of great importance in higher level mathematics. Besides the more obvious mathematical affect, the child will explore the rhythm and content of the music; understanding the vocabulary and rhythm of the musical language may allow them to improve both their reading and writing skills. By this, an education in music will aid the child in what are considered by many to be the two most important and fundamental areas of study. Within the same field, concerning failing students, music education has been shown to pull children from even the greatest depths of academic failure. With a step outside of the normal, standardized educational system, the failing student may be able to see music as inspiration to do well in other areas of life. Through music, the student may now be able to express thought and emotion, make bonds with other musicians, and feel the need for self improvement. With these types of changes, the student will seek improvement both consciously and unconsciously in the classroom and in other areas of life. Through the observations and in-depth studies presented, it seems that the implementation of music education into the school system could solve many of the problems that test preparation classes and overbearing focus on core areas of education can not.
Despite the advantages music may offer to students, there is a possibility that music may also have negative effects upon impressionable minds. When the listener naturally experiences both emotional highs and lows. While most would feel nothing more than a relieving cathartic effect, in some cases troubled adolescents have been pushed over the edge while listening to music, or encouraged in their self-destructive habits. Many documented suicides have taken place while music played in the background, and there is some speculation that extended listening could lead to anti-social behavior. However, cases of this are few and far between; often it seems that the subject was previously troubled, before music could have been pinned as the primary cause. In other words, music is not really the cause of the problem, though it clearly affects the mind and actions of the troubled adolescent. Furthermore, the profanity in modern music (hip hop is specifically mentioned) have also been said to affect the young minds of people. Though there is no well publicized study as to the truth of this theory, mere observation might be evidence enough. To the casual observer, it may seem clear that both music and society as a whole have become more promiscuous as time passes. The prominent theory is that the explicit nature of some modern music has desensitized today’s youth to immoral thoughts and actions. Though not studied extensively, there is clearly a correlation between the subject matter of music and the actions of the listener; therefore, this theory cannot be entirely be wrong.