By Jacqueline Lofstad

Jacqueline Lofstad is a second-year PSEO student majoring

in music education and history. She is a trumpet player

from Circle Pines, MN (photo by Jacqueline Lofstad).

Trumpet Player

 

Imagine a sweet sixth grade girl entering middle

school for the first time. She is nervous and is

struggling academically and socially. However, she is

given her first instrument and learns to make music.

Through numerous rehearsals, she is able to work

with her band mates and form lifelong friendships.

The skills she develops transfer over into her academics.

When the concert comes, she has the chance to

confidently show her skill.

 

Unfortunately, when school budgets shrink, arts

are often the first programs to go because they are

not considered core subjects. However, music needs

to be kept in schools because it is a core subject, not

just pretty sounds (or otherwise, in the case of middle

school band). Music helps boost student’s academic

performance, improves teamwork skills, and gives

students confidence that they can use later in life.

 

Music in schools enhances a students’ academic

performances. Schools with music programs have

significantly higher graduation and attendance rates

than do those without programs. Music can help with

standardized tests. Students who have had music appreciation

classes or musical experiences scored on

average 50.5 points higher on the SAT. The Music

Educators’ National Conference writes, “Excluding

some Americans from music education denies them

access to one of the core academic subjects, music, as

an essential path toward meeting their educational

needs.”

 

Music not only helps students have incredible

success in academics; it also helps benefit students in

all areas of their life. One of these areas is teamwork.

It’s proven that broad educational outcomes that were

thought to be most effectively met through participating

in music included cooperation/teamwork and

self-esteem. Cooperation is a skill necessary for ensembles

to be successful in performance.

 

Every society has music. Music education helps

students to work together with those of a different

race, religion, or socioeconomic class. Music helps

students understand diversity. Exposure to different

kinds of music helps students accept each other’s

differences. In high school, I played trumpet in MN

Youth Symphonies for two years. We had a Jewish

conductor, a lesbian student, many races, and pretty

much every political view possible in one orchestra.

We were unified in our love for music and excellence.

In a world with so much racial and religious tension,

unity is needed more today than ever before.

Music helps a student to gain confidence because

music gives students opportunities to present

themselves to others. When a student has a successful

performance, the confidence can carry over to other

areas of their life. Through performance, I learned

how to present myself well. This has helped so much

with other “performance” situations such as job interviews,

class discussion, and presentations. Through

rehearsals, teachers and performances, a student’s

self-esteem is boosted. Paul Lehman states, “The bottom

line is this: Music makes a difference in people’s

lives. We music educators have something to give to

the youth of America that no one else can give them,

and it’s something, that, once given, can never be taken

away. It’s the joy and beauty and the satisfaction

of music.” Music teachers who encourage to perform

may push them out of their comfort zone, but the students

will grow through that experience.

 

America must take action and start funding music,

so that every student, wealthy or not, has the opportunity

to participate in music ensembles. America

funds public schools to provide a well-rounded education

for everyone. If music is a core subject, then it

should be funded as well. Steven N. Kelly states, “All

individuals should have the opportunity to experience

music in ways that challenges them individually and

in groups.” Because music increases academic performance,

teaches teamwork, and promotes confidence,

funding for music education should be increased, not

cut in schools.

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