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Isaiah Durgin
Mrs. DeBock
English 4
23 February 2016

Music on the Mind
Music can be found on the tip of every tongue in the world. In every situation, music
plays an important role of conveying a certain emotion to be felt in correspondence to any
situation. For example, in filming a fight scene, the director has the chance to convey a specific
emotion and theme to the scene. If they apply classical music, the mood will be that of a graceful
fight where the protagonist is in complete control. However, when applied with the music one
would find typical of an action movie, the exact opposite thoughts are conveyed, thoughts of
suspense and edge-of-your-seat thrills. This is because, from birth, every human on this planet
has been exposed to music in one form or another, either from the radio or the calls of birds
outside. Whether aware of it or not, everyone has been trained to detect the tempos and mistakes
that are found in music. Music is critical for the development of the human brain, as well as the
development of society as a whole, and should have more attention paid to it than it is currently
receiving.
School funding is an issue that has been at the forefront of political debate for decades.
After the creation of the Department of Education in 1979, the government has played a direct
role in the education of children under the age of eighteen. In 2001, President George W. Bush

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enacted the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). According to officials, the NCLB Act “actually
resulted in increased school funding, though much of that additional funding went toward the
creation of administrative positions related to following the federal standards” (“School
Funding”) and not towards programs such as art, music education, and drama. In 2011, Scott
Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin, argued against the act of teachers protesting the government
for higher wages, declaring that public school teachers educate students less than their private
school counterparts, which earn lower wages. Some people argue that school funding should be
left to the local and state governments, that the federal taxes can be better used in different
sections of government. In relation to music, statistics show that participation in music programs
at the public school level have decreased, going from 55.4 in 1991 to 49.1 in 2004 (Ford).
Because of the NCLB Act, with numbers being as low as they are, many music and arts
programs had to be cut or completely abolished, their already low funding being dispersed to
other areas of study, to keep with the nationwide standards. Because of music’s importance in the
course of brain development. testing scores and standards have dropped as well.
The cut of funds to art programs are directly affected by the needs of employers and blue
collar jobs. Many employers do not want to spend extra time and money to train a new employee
when said employee could learn such skill in high school before starting work there, As a result
many subjects have replaced the arts in order to accommodate employers needs. Most people
believe that it is better to put topics such as English and Math at the forefront of learning. Not
that these subjects are not important, which they are, but the funding and participation in art
programs should not be put aside for the needs of other subjects. Studies show that students are
able to learn better and excel better in school if they are a member of a music program. These
same students are more confident in their work and are shown able to appreciate the importance

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of details. As Adam Ford puts it in his article on the topic, “ Learning basic language and math
skills should be accomplished in all public schools - not at the expense of arts, but in addition to
them”
The book This is Your Brain on Music, by Daniel J. Levitin, is a book all about the study
of music’s effect on the human mind. It covers topics in a jargon that only those who have
experience with music would understand but explains complex neuroscience in a way that all
who read it can understand. Music has had an intimate relationship with humankind since the
first man was able to use his voice. Throughout history, music has been used to communicate
emotions through tempo. Tempo is the pace in which a piece of music progresses (Levitin 59).
Different tempos can be used to convey varying emotions. A slower tempo can indicate a more
somber mood while faster tempos convey more exciting (Levitin 60). As time progressed,
humans were able to instinctively point out such tempos along with the rhythms and mistakes
that musicians make when performing a piece. The human brain has been wired to communicate
and associate times, regions, experiences, and even memories with music. Many scientists have
tried to explain why the mind has been programed to do such things but have proved
unsuccessful in proving how the mind receives music as it does.
Music programs need to be funded because music helps with the development of the human
brain which leads to a more educated and advanced society. As shown throughout the article,
music is a fundamentally important part of, not only the education system, but of human society.
The human brain is stimulated by participating in and listening to music, allowing people to
reach the full potential of their brain’s capacity. The mind is a machine that in fact can be “tuned”
by the musical experiences that we have in life and can shape a person’s lifestyle as well as the
way that they are viewed by others. Most importantly, music programs teach participants the
values of hard work and the benefits of working towards a goal and seeing it through its
completion. With these values being tossed aside in order to make classrooms more standardized,
it is no wonder that test scores and work ethic is dropping in schools across the country.

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Works Cited
Ford, Adam. “Point: The Arts are a Vital Part of Education.” Points of View: Arts & Music in
Public Schools (2015): 1. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 9 Feb. 2016
Levitin, Daniel J. This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. New York,
N.Y: Dutton, 2006. Print.
"School Funding." Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2015. Opposing
Viewpoints In Context. Web. 4 Feb. 2016.