The Student Gazette -
Student Gazette

Music teaches valuable lessons so programs deserve funding
Friday, May 13, 2011

Thomas Sheffield is a sixth-grader at Ballston Spa Middle School

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Photographer: Peter R. Barber

Thomas Sheffield
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In life there are certain lessons that everyone has to learn. One of the things that can help teach those lessons is music, but one must start young so that all of that knowledge can be acquired. Schools need to invest more money into music programs.

The first life lesson that music can teach is discipline. To play an instrument you must practice. You must discipline yourself to set aside time to practice instead of doing other things like watching TV. In fact, most music teachers recommend that someone playing an instrument should practice 60-70 minutes a week (not including lessons). So, if schools have strong music programs their kids will be disciplined, which will help a lot in the classroom.

The second life lesson is having satisfaction in achievement. When learning to play or sing your first piece, it can be tough when you feel like you have drawn a blank. Once you have mastered that piece, the feeling of satisfaction is priceless. You will never forget the first anything that you master. Breaking through a piece is one step closer to a long-term goal and is definitely something of which to be proud. Kids in a school with a good music program will no doubt have a great sense of achievement.

The third life lesson is how to relieve stress. A lot of people have trouble relieving stress, including me. When I am having a rough day, as soon as I go to my orchestra class I feel better. Music calms the mind. It feels even better when you are playing the music. It is one of life’s greatest treasures. That means that if a student is having a bad day, as soon as he or she goes to orchestra, band, chorus or regular music class, he or she will feel much better.

The fourth life lesson is learning how to have fun. I will admit that playing an instrument and singing is hard, but no one can deny that music is fun. You need a job when you leave high school, but who wants a boring one? Furthermore, maybe a student will be the next person to play in the Trans-Siberian or Philadelphia orchestras. If a school doesn’t have a strong music program they could be closing opportunities for their students in the future.

Above all, music also makes you smarter. In fact, according to Shirly Brice Heath, researcher at Stanford University, “Students who participate in music programs are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, three times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools, four times more likely to participate in math and science fairs, three times more likely to win an award for school attendance, and four times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem.”

Studies at reputable universities have shown that music actually makes people smarter. Some might argue that money should be used to get extra materials for traditional classes, but since music has been proven to develop the brain, money should be invested into current or new music programs instead.

So you see, schools need to invest money into music. It is essential. Music is one of life’s most wonderful things. It is one of the best ways to teach life lessons, make you smarter and have fun. It is a great way to teach those life lessons that everyone must learn.



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