“Sounds of Learning” study publishes data relating student success with quality school music programs.
A recent music education study found that students in high-quality school music programs scored higher on standardized tests than those in schools with less intense music programs.
Dr. Christopher Johnson, professor of music education and music therapy and associate dean of the University of Kansas School of Fine Arts, worked with graduate student Jenny E. Memmott to conduct the research – the first study of its kind to examine the relationship between the quality of music programs as a factor impacting test scores, regardless of social economic level of school or school district.
The study included 4,739 elementary and junior high school students in four regions of the United States enrolled in top-notch music programs and low-quality programs.
This research was part of the “Sounds of Learning: The Impact of Music Education” Initiative, funded by the NAMM Foundation. There are currently eight “Sounds of Learning” projects that are studying the connections between music education and child development and music’s role in contributing to children’s academic achievement and success in school.
Representatives from schools involved in the study spoke about the importance of music education from their perspective.
“I think what we see in schools, is that music provides a connection to school – an instructor, a peer group and a higher level of performance academically,” says Stacey Yurkovic, principal of Prairie Trail Jr. High School in Olathe, Kan. “And as a result of that, the kids perform better on standardized tests. Kids in music programs have a goal they are working hard toward. A daily routine to achieve a goal – a performance – and in the end they achieve more than kids without these goals.”
The research was published in the Journal for Research in Music Education, winter 2006, Vol. 54, No. 4. In the article, Johnson explained, “It is crucial to note that this project had revealed a relationship between quality of music instruction and academic performance. This finding agrees with previous research that music supports academic performance and extends our understanding of the impact of quality music education programs in this period of high stakes testing.”
For more information about NAMM grants and the “Sounds of Learning” initiative, log on to nammfoundation.org/Grants/.
Source: NAMM PLAYback Magazine, Summer 2007.