Name 1 Your Name Research Paper Mrs.

Getz English 1304 25 April 2007 Music Education: A Lasting Contribution A student wakes up in the morning to the sound of his alarm clock radio. While he showers in preparation for his day, the student hums a song that has been echoing in his head for days. As he drives to school, the radio plays a string of nonstop hits that his friends and he will later discuss. During his lunch break, a thin strain of music settles over the busy crowd. Even on his way home, the student will encounter music. Something so integral to human life must be understood, and utilized, as thoroughly as possible. The positive effects of instrumental and aural training in young people from preschoolers to preadolescents have been widely acclaimed, and therefore these assets to development should be continued through the levels of secondary education in order to provide a well-rounded aesthetic appreciation that will benefit the student during their present lives and into later adulthood. In order to appreciate the value of specific musical training into the secondary levels of education, the various benefits of this training in the lives of much younger children must first be recognized. There is a clear dichotomy that must be established, however. Passive consumption of music is not the same as active musical training. Passive consumption entails simply listening to music without regard to the intricacies of it and without any attempt at recreating the musical experience. Active musical training includes learning how to produce it. Passive consumption does have its merits. Glenn Schellenberg, from the University of Toronto in Mississuaga,

Name 2 Ontario, Canada, conducted various experiments which measured the effects of passive consumption by various groups of children. The results were based on standardized tests given at the end of the research period. The research project was sparked by the debate over the relevance of the “Mozart effect,” an idea published in an article which stated that participants who listened to a recording of Mozart performed better than those who did not in a spatial abilities test. Later studies showed that the music had provided higher levels of arousal.

Schellenberg, after exposing participants to different composers’ music, in different tempos and modes, observed that what a listener individually associated with more provided the best levels of cognitive performance (Schellenberg 1-2). Lili M. Levinowitz, in “The Importance of Music in Early Childhood,” remarks upon the idea that “our culture has moved away from active music making to more passive consumption” (Levinowitz 18). There is a need, from her perspective, for music educators and parents, who “can do a great deal to provide music experiences and stimulation that nurture a child’s music abilities,” to incorporate a more playful environment “that encourage[s] play so that children can better teach themselves the music of their culture” (Levinowitz 18). It is apparent that including music in a child’s surroundings at all is helpful to their development, even if it is only by passive consumption. If simply listening to music is enhances a child’s mind, then actually incorporating musical training into a child’s curriculum must be even more helpful. Schellenberg, in a study conducted later concerning the effect of music lessons on randomly selected children, administered an IQ test to one-hundred and forty-four 6-year-olds before beginning first grade. There were four particular groups, each given a different set of lessons and one being a control group. The groups were given either keyboard lessons, voice lessons, or drama lessons. The control group was given no lessons. The results of the second test, given during the transition

Name 3 from first to second grade, showed that “the increase in IQ was greater for the music groups than for the control groups” (Schellenberg 3). Another test was given taking into account long-term exposure to lessons as well as “confounding variables such as family income and parents’ education, which were held constant in the statistical analyses” (Schellenberg 3). This time, the standardized test scores proved that “real-world effects of musical training on intellectual abilities are larger with longer periods of training, long lasting, not attributable to obvious confounding variables, and distinct from those nonmusical out-of-school activities” (Schellenberg 3). Schellenberg attributes the connection between intellectual stimulation and music to the school-like nature of music lessons, the range of abilities that music lessons work to improve, such as memorization, fine-motor skills, and emotive expression, the abstract nature of music, and the cognitive benefits similar to those in learning two or more languages. He affirms that the benefits of music-learning extend to both short- and long-term periods (Schellenberg 34). The nature of these benefits in young people, thus, could extend beyond the primary level of education and into the secondary levels with continuation of these musical educational materials. Another study conducted by Joyce Eastlund Gromko and Allison Smith Poorman from Bowling Green State University, “The Effect of Music Training on Preschoolers’ Spatial-Temporal Task Performance,” also showed similar results in increased abilities of young preschoolers. 30 3- and 4-year-olds were divided into two equal groups, one of them receiving musical training and the other group serving as the control group. A preliminary Performance IQ test was administered. The trained group received, for seven months, a new song every week in which they sang, added simple percussive choreography, played the song on hand chimes or songbells, illustrated the song with stickers, and traced the song on a tactile chart. At the end of the seven months, the Performance IQ was again administered, this time with a definite difference in results between

Name 4 the trained group and the control group. “The treatment group made significantly more gain in raw scores than the control group” (Gromko 177). Furthermore, Gromko and Poorman stated in conclusion to the study: We believe that early music training with an emphasis on sensory motor activity, visual and aural perception of space and sound, and the improvement of memory for space and sound nurtures a young child’s intrinsic love of learning, helps them move expressively and perceptively within their environments, and sustains and encourages their intellectual growth up to the point that they enter school. (Gromko 178) The evidence of this wide range of enhanced abilities further supports the need for continued music education into the secondary school educational institutions. If such qualities as a child’s self-esteem and adaptability to environmental changes are improved through something as enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing as musical training, one can only imagine the benefits music provide to an adolescent undergoing the stress of social, physical, and emotional pressure. It is arguable, according to Eugenia Costa-Giomi, from McGill University, in her report “The Effects of Three Years of Piano Instruction on Children’s Cognitive Development,” that the cognitive improvements of music are only short-term in nature. Costa-Giomi conducted a threeyear study in which she selected a group of sixty-seven children to be part of an experimental group and fifty to be in a control group. All the children in the study came from families with incomes of $40,000 per year or less (Canadian dollars). The children in the experimental group received, for three years, a piano in their homes and 3 years of instruction, lasting from thirty to forty-five minutes, teaching repertoire from contemporary and classical resources. At the

beginning of the study, and at regular intervals at the end of each year of the study, the children were administered the Developing Cognitive Abilities Test. Each week, the piano instructors

Name 5 would fill out progress reports based on the child’s participation and attendance of lessons. After much examination of the final data, results showed that the children in the experimental group had more improved test scores than the control group during the first two years of the study, but by the third year of the study, there was no significant difference between the abilities of the experimental or the control group. Costa-Giomi examined the progress reports and discovered that the reason behind the difference in the trend was that many students in the experimental group were losing interest and either were not attending lessons or not giving full attention and participation during the lessons. Costa-Giomi concluded that although musical training could improve short-term cognitive abilities, long-term improvement is reliant upon the enthusiasm and dedication of the student involved in the musical training (Costa-Giomi 201-210). This study, however, does not invalidate the necessity of musical education in upper-level education. For one, the group was composed solely of lower-income families, which means that a sampling of all income levels would be necessary to see a more accurate trend in cognitive development with musical training. Secondly, as discussed earlier with the Schellenberg experiment, a

listener’s mental abilities are increased based on the level of arousal, dependent upon music that the listener actually enjoys. This would lead to the conclusion that perhaps the music selected for the children to learn in the piano lessons of Costa-Giomi’s study were not exposed to music that they necessarily enjoyed. These factors add to the instability of this study’s argument that short-term cognitive development is the only sure advantage of musical training. The enjoyable nature of music is completely exploitable, if music educators of the secondary level are willing to pull away from traditional, conservative practices and see the merit in different forms of music which will capture and maintain the attention of junior high and high school students. Robert Woody, Associate Professor of Music Education in the University of

Name 6 Nebraska, Lincoln, argues for the validity of popular music as an educational tool: “. . . Popular music . . . can be thought of merely as a subculture within American music . . . Popular music often represents the “native” culture of students. In a very real way, respecting the music is respecting students” (Woody 2). Woody also advocates not only the analyzing of the cultural context of popular music, but putting the vernacular into practice in order to reinforce its authenticity to students. “Active engagement is far more educationally effective than passive consumption” (Woody 3). Woody’s opinion. The development of popular musicians holds much validity in

Students will learn to collaborate productively in “jam sessions,” learn

technical skills in context of popular songs rather than isolating the skill alone, and unite listening with actual musical production. These factors add to the general drive of motivation as to why popular music would benefit educational programs in secondary schools. Motivation, as noted earlier, would be fundamental to the continued cognitive growth and mental stimulation of a student. Woody explains the benefits of musicianship as related to popular music. It leads to practical aural skills, improvisational technique affluence, and it fosters musical creativity. The skills achieved in popular musical education lead to lifelong skills that will enhance participation in social and religious life as adults (Woody 5-7). Edward Trimis, Department Chair of Music at Huntington Park High School in California, affirms a different aspect of the importance of having a thorough music training program in high school. Students interested in majoring in music in college, with a rigorous musical program, will be much more prepared than many students with a less-focused musical background. As for the reaction to the additions to the curriculum, Trimis remarks, “All of the students—those in the music department and the general student body—ended up profiting from the extra classes” (Trimis 23). Obviously, there are longlasting educational and social effects of a music education program that cater to the vernacular

Name 7 tastes of the student. Appreciation of this type of music will facilitate learning more classical repertoire and techniques. There are psychological effects of music as well that must be accounted for along with the educational benefits. These benefits must be considered in the establishment of rigorous musical education and training into upper-level education. Jacqueline Roberts, from the

Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre in the U.K., discusses the benefits of musical therapy for sexually abused children. One particular child, named “Sally,” showed characteristics of posttraumatic stress disorder. Through years of musical therapy, Sally developed a sense of herself through musical instruments and was able to communicate her distress and trauma through the musical sessions. She also learned to regulate her emotional outbursts and deal with her environment in a more controlled way (Robarts 258-263). psychological and therapeutic aspects of music: In music there is a two-way channel, to and fro, between the sensory realm from which meaning . . . emerges to the more fully fledged symbolic realm of imagination and play . . . Because music can both reach and regulate the core of our beings, for the traumatized child it can work to support and transform the distorted and disrupted foundations of the bodily emotional self. (Robarts, 265) If music is able to accomplish this in emotionally turbulent children, then the quality of music which transcends all ages and walks of life allows it to communicate to anyone. The healing properties of music are a huge asset in the continuing of music as an educational program through the junior high and high school level. Suvi Saarikallio and Jaakko Erkkilä, of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, comment in “The Role of Music in Adolescents’ Mood Regulation” on the mood-regulating nature of music. The regulatory strategies they list include Robarts remarks about the

Name 8 entertainment, revival, diversion, discharge, mental work, and solace. Their studies show that music is related to creating a positive mood and that the pleasantness of a musical experience enhances the state of a person’s well-being. Also, “the study succeeded in demonstrating the impressive capability of music for promoting emotional self-regulation” (Saarikallio 104-5). Especially during the turbulent years of adolescence, the school system, which is such an integral part of a young person’s life, should constantly provide some sort of therapeutic experience for the students they are trying to prepare for life as adults. Music has proven to be a useful tool in developing young people’s minds, both in short and long terms benefits. It has also been shown to provide skills necessary for life, regardless of whether or not one is entering life as a musician due to the social skills it fosters. On an emotional and psychological level, music is able to heal and soothe, which are important qualities of something that human beings surround themselves with so much with every day. Music surrounds each of us. It is a cultural entity which defines how we experience life. To integrate something so vital to the human experience into the school system is a wise choice. It ensures well-being for the student on levels that reach far beyond education.

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Works Cited Schellenberg, E. Glenn. “Music and Cognitive Abilities.” Current Directions in Psychological Science. 14.6 (Dec. 2005): 317-20. Lili M. Levinowitz. “The Importance of Music in Early Childhood.” Music Educator’s Journal. 86.1, 1999: 17-18. Gromko, Joyce Eastlund and Poorman, Allison Smith. “The Effect of Music Training on Prechoolers’ Spatial-Temporal Task Performance.” Journal of Research in Music Education. 46.2 (Summer 1998): 173-81. Eugenia Costa-Giomi. “The Effects of Three Years Piano Instruction on Children’s Cognitive Development.” Journal of Research in Music Education. Autumn, 1999: 198-212. Woody, Robert H. “Popular Music in School: Remixing the Issues.” Music Educators Journal. 93.4 (Mar. 2007): 32-7. Trimis, Edward. “Building a High School Music Major Program.” Music Educators Journal. 84.5 (Mar., 1998): 19-23. Robarts, Jacqueline. “Music Therapy with Sexualy Abused Children.” Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 11.2 (2006): 249-269. Saarikallio, Suvi and Erkkila, Jaakko. “The role of music in adolescents’ mood regulation.” Psychology of Music. 35.1 (2007): 88-109.