ST. PAUL (Jan. 8, 2015) — A new initiative is equipping local parents and community members with the necessary tools to ensure local children receive the music education they deserve.
The grassroots campaign, called “Music Makes Us Whole,” was developed by a diverse group of individuals and organizations, ranging from area educators to radio and television stations to businesses and nonprofits from across Minnesota.
Community members can visit MusicMakesUsWhole.org to learn why quality music learning isn’t a luxury. Music training equips students with communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, plus discipline and many other skills that are crucial to a successful adulthood.
• Music training stimulates nearly every region of the brain, and students with 1+ year of high school music experience earn higher ACT scores.
• Music education may help Minnesota close the achievement gap: Low-income students who took music lessons in grades 8 to 12 saw math, reading, history, geography and social skills soar by 40% compared to non-music students.
• NEA research found at-risk youth with access to arts programs in schools also have higher career goals and are more civically engaged.
• Music students gain the skills employers want most: teamwork, communication and problem solving.
• 83% of adults with incomes higher than $150,000 participated in music.*
Are Kids In Your Community Receiving the Education They Deserve?
Students can only reap the broad benefits of music learning if their schools have strong music programs.
While Minnesota schools have been adding teachers since 2006, the trend in music is the opposite – a decline, according to the latest Minnesota Department of Education data. That means larger music classes, fewer music classes or less time spent in music class.
Principals and superintendents value input from community members, and “Music Makes Us Whole” encourages Minnesotans to contact schools, focusing on why music is important for students’ success. Can students choose from multiple offerings? How often and for how long do classes meet? Does each student have access to an instrument and the chance to sing? To help start the conversation, Music Makes Us Whole offers criteria for quality music programs, which can be found at musicmakesuswhole.org/quality- school-music.
The site also features a “find your school” tool, as well as sample email and phone scripts for use when talking to local principals or superintendents.
“We advocate for quality music in schools not only because of music’s intrinsic value in the human experience, but also for the whole-brain and whole-life benefits to the child, as well as his or her community,” says Brian Newhouse, managing director of Minnesota Public Radio’s classical programming and a member of Music Makes Us Whole. “Whether it’s classical music, hip-hop or rock ‘n roll, music truly does make us whole.”
“We’re thrilled that so many diverse organizations have joined together to support quality music programs for young people,” adds Mary Schaefle, Executive Director of the Minnesota Music Educators Association. “We want to ensure that every child in Minnesota experiences the joys and lifelong benefits of music.”
*Find more statistics about music education and the research from which they were derived at MusicMakesUsWhole.org.