What does music education teach us?

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As the world changes, many schools and education programmes are cutting music from the curriculum. Although I can understand some of the reasons – the annual cost of running a music department, shortage of music teachers, push on STEM subjects; in my personal opinion cutting music is a grave mistake.

Firstly, music surrounds us in every aspect of our daily lives. From music on the radio when we drive to work, music for working out at the gym, epic film scores that creates an abundance of feelings in every tv show and film we watch, and of course music at formal occasions like weddings, state occasions and funerals. This is why music is considered a universal language.

So why would we want to stop future generations understanding and learning music??

Here are some reasons why I believe music education is essential:

  • Connect with your feelings

Music has the ability to create a vast range of emotions and be linked with memories. Certain songs will always remind you of a special occasion or person and music has the power to lift our spirits.

  • Good for your mental health

Learning to calm your body to sing and play is a great way of settling the mind into the present and reduce stress. Music helps our sleep, used for exercising and even used in meditation activities. Research has shown that music stimulate all parts of the brain in a way no other activity does.

  • Connection with others

Although much of your personal practice maybe alone the rest of our musical experiences generally require us to be with others. Connection with others is part of the human spirit and an essential need. There is something special about singing or playing together, whether that is for fun or for a formal concert. The bond music creates lasts for a life time and students I taught 20 years ago are still friends through with their music buddies.

  • Team work, collaboration, patience and meeting a deadline

With the drive for STEM in schools and work-place skills, many underestimate the essential skills that music and drama teach. Any group activity requires teamwork, collaboration, communication and patience. Students presenting classwork for assessment or a final duet for a recital have to learn the importance of meeting a deadline. STEM may be the new decade trend but music has been teaching these already for a lot longer.

  • Listening skills

With so much of the world logged on and isolated in the world of social media, music does encourage us to keep listening. Listening and understanding is essential for healthy relationships in all areas of our lives. Listening to music encourages us to find music that we like and continuously helps us shape our identities.

In my opinion, music education is more than just churning out a Christmas concert and a few solo performances on special occasions when the admin need the school to look good. Music education is an essential part of learning who we are and developing our own unique identity – this lasts long past the classroom. This is why I believe music shouldn’t be cut from any part of our lives.

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